Military Subjects: Organization, Strategy & Tactics

Notes on Wellington’s Peninsular Regiments: Duke of Brunswick Oels (Jäegers)

By Ray Foster

Facings: Light Blue                                                          
Lace: Black         

Landed Lisbon during late September to October 1810                                                      

No figures available

Note:

It is as well to come to an understanding that these soldiers from the Duchy of Brunswick Oels [a quite close neighBrunswick Oels ur of the old Electorate of Hanover] upon entry into the Peninsula theatre are already trained light infantrymen, even though they have difficulty in finding a compatible brigading in an army settling into regularity. We see them moved from their first gazetted brigade with 4th Division Lieutenant Colonel Edward Packenham very rapidly going with Light Division Major General Robert Craufurd equally on a speedy/temporary basis but eventually to rest in the newly created 7th Division which settles down for a while under the Hanoverian Major General John Sontag. All of these moves whilst certainly disquieting are suggestive of a light infantry basis, almost un-noticeably its final berth in 7th Division has what passes for completely Light battalions throughout, so, there the matter must end.

12th November 1810 (at and a Brunswick Oels in the Lines of Torres Vedras)

First sightings will be;

A single company with 2nd Brigade 4th Division [1/2/7th & 1/23rd]
|A single company with 1st Brigade 5th Division [3/1st, 1/9th & 2/38th]
A single company with 2nd Brigade 5th Division [1/4th, 2/30th & 2/44th]
9 companies brigaded into 2nd Brigade Light Division [1/52nd & 1/95th {4 companies}]

It is unwise to conjecture a spread of numbers for these companies just yet, all are to remain within the 'Lines' for some time and unsurprisingly those 9 companies in Light Division will move away before any action against an enemy. By 1st February 1811 Craufurd has divested himself of these Jäeger using harsh judgement as to their quality, an opinion that would colour the way that historians would view these men in the future. Passing them on they will come down to 8 companies going into March and will be loosely attached to 4th Division, perhaps for logistical purposes lasting thus for about six weeks before finally coming to rest in 7th Division  1st Brigade. At this time this Division is in early formation having but one Brigade and that under Major General Robert Ballard Long who, after only three weeks hands over to Brigadier Sontag with Major General William Houston as Divisional chief.  

For comrades they have 51st [2/Yorkshire Light Infantry], 85th [Buckingham’s Volunteers Light Infantry'] Chasseurs Britanniques [whose name speaks for itself], a truly "Light Brigade"! Fortunately these other single Jäeger companies will remain brigaded with 4th, 5th & 7th Divisions for the whole of their service in the Peninsula and as Massena falls back from his wintering-over positions about Santarem these companies will each have differing roles to play. With scant information given by Oman as to their combat roles we are occasionally compelled to fall back on rationalization and certainly to display a somewhat more open-handedness than would that brittle disciplinarian Black Brunswick Oels b Craufurd.

By 5th March the single company with 4th Division would be turned about from the slow pursuit of Marshal Andre Massena's men to take up their sharpshooter role albeit with a great deal of counter-marching before finally approaching Campo Mayor where they are forced to sit awaiting replacements for footwear which had disintegrated during this estimated 165 mile tramp.

The two companies with 5th Division would continue along the paths left by Marshal Michel Ney's rearguard but having only a supporting place even when their steady marching had brought them as far forward as the hill country about Sabugal.

Houston's 7th Division is quite satisfied to bring up the rear of Wellington's columns whilst still coming to terms with 'regularity'.  It is only on 1st May 1811 that we shall see figures for Brunswick Oels Jäeger and these as the 5th and 7th Divisions come up to Fuentes d Onoro.

1st May 1811 (at Fuentes d Onoro)

Brunswick Oels Jäeger 1 company 1st Brigade 5th Division                                                                                                                                     
PUA   69

Brunswick Oels Jäeger 1 company 2nd Brigade 5th Division                                                                                                                     
PUA   68

Brunswick Oels Jäeger 8 companies 1st Brigade 7th Division                                                                                                                     
PUA 593

Two days later the village of Fuentes d Onoro is attacked by Massena's men without either of these Divisions being engaged, there is then a day during which the French make some major shifts to their left with belated corresponding reactions by Wellington.

The manœuvre most critical for the men of 7th Division is that the CIC places them in an almost isolated position to his right and to the foreground of any attack which may be directed up an area of rising ground slightly refused of his defensive line.

As it transpires this area is indeed a prime target of Massena's next initiative, the village of Poço Velho standing directly below the rising ground his first objective. At no time are we given an inkling as to the part played out by Brunswick Oels Jäeger in this fight, we do know that they were well clear of the village and that they would have stood perhaps alongside 51st Light in a defensive formation. Brunswick Oels th sides fought fiercely principally using their cavalry squadrons and to full effect, the rest, for our Jäeger is up for conjecture. What we know for sure is that Adjutant/Lieutenant William von Zollikofer and six of his men are wounded, one more killed and no less that 10 taken prisoner, these last men captured are seen by some to be no more than the usual result of placing unsound faith in men of doubtful loyalty.

However it has to be remembered that bands of enemy light cavalry troopers were swirling about in the clouds of dust as the 7th Division was retiring as best it could in this its very first action, they would be seen as rich prizes by the enemy who had rather mixed fortunes against their opposite numbers in the British/KGL cavalry. As to the men of those companies of Brunswick Oels Jäeger in 5th Division we have not a word other than to note that this Division stood all day in support with only a handful of casualties from penetrating fire, so:

5th May 1811 (after the battle at Fuentes d Onoro)

Brunswick Oels Jäeger 8 companies 1st Brigade 7th Division                                                                                                                     
PAB 575

Transferring our story to the siege of Badajoz where the single company of Brunswick Oels Jäeger operates in 4th Division there is no sign of their activities Brunswick Oels th at this siege and immediately following its break-up, at the bloody fighting at Albuera. Attached to the 1st Brigade dubbed the 'Fusiliers Brigade’ they would surely have taken part in the march forward into Marshal Nicholas Soult's massed columns, if so their proper place would have been in the right flank column swinging in at pace and protected by Major General William Lumley's British and Loy's Spanish cavalrymen. We receive no information whatever, so, on 16th May 1811 when the battle of Albuera has subsided there is no option but to move on. By chance we can go directly to the movements of 7th Division who have cleared the battlefield of Fuentes d Onoro and have already begun to march down country to arrive at Campo Mayor by 24th May and then proceed on the right [northern] bank of the Guadiana to face the outer bastioned fort of San Christobal by Badajoz across the river. They are to be used as assault troops once the engineers have declared the breach practicable, up to this time there has been the usual work of setting out battery sites and scratching the rocky ground to create trenches using mainly earth filled gabions and woolsacks. Here again there is no chance for Brunswick Oels Jäeger to shine, all volunteers for the assault are to come from 51st and 85th with the Grenadiers of 17th Portuguese Line to make up the numbers. On the night of 6th June in they go with no success at all, seemingly the Jäeger manage to collect a handful of casualties probably through exposure while sniping from the 'trenches'. A second try three nights later using the same volunteers plus others this time from Brunswick Oels Jäeger produces the same result with at least the knowledge that Lieutenant Julius Lyznewsky and five of his men have been wounded, one killed and with a likely 7 men already on the night of the 6th June a total casualty count here of 14 men, so:

6th-11th June 1811 (at the breach assaults at San Christobal)

Brunswick Oels Jäeger 8 companies 1st Brigade 7th Division                                                                                                                     
PAB 565

The enemy are showing signs of making a significant concentration to come to the aid of the beleaguered garrison at Badajoz, Marshals Auguste Marmont and Soult bringing up sufficient numbers forcing Wellington to call off all offensive action and go off, retiring into the valley of the Caya. In drawing together his Divisions we can now say that all of the companies of Brunswick Oels Jäeger will stand comparatively close together somewhere in this defensive array. 4th Division will bring one company still with the Fusilier Brigade [now reinforced by 1/48th] and sit about Elvas, 5th Division and its two companies will go well back in reserve as far as Portalegre while 7th Division is to be seen at the northern end of the line by Ouguella. All remain hereaBrunswick Oels uts acquainting themselves with the marsh mosquitoes with varying fortune until Marmont and Soult, having re-victualled Badajoz departed their own ways allowing Wellington to re-distribute his troops for the last parts of the 1811 campaign season.

Some organisational changes occur, Major General Charles von Alten brings into 7th Division his 1/2/KGL Light, the 8 companies of Brunswick Oels Jäeger are increased to 9 companies and sit in 1st Brigade with Alten's men while a new Light Infantry battalion the Durham Light [68th] has joined 2nd Brigade and 85th numbers have diminished dramatically. Houston will go home sick before they reach their new positions coming out of the Caya valley and Sontag will pick up the Division.

As autumn approaches the CIC brings his northern army forward to overlook the frontier by Cuidad Rodrigo, we shall be given figures as they sit about Fuente Guinaldo, so:

15th September 1811 (Brunswick Oels at Fuente Guinaldo)

Brunswick Oels Jäeger 1 company 2nd Brigade 4th Division                                                                                                       
PUA   49

Brunswick Oels Jäeger 1 company 1st Brigade 5th Division                                                                                                        
PUA   63

Brunswick Oels Jäeger 1 company 2nd Brigade 5th Division                                                                                                       
PUA   52

Brunswick Oels Jäeger 9 companies 1st Brigade 7th Division                                                                                                      
PUA 536

Here we are then with a combined total of 12 companies and 700 men, they are all fit and Present-Under-Arms having survived the rigours of the Caya valley, not bad for a battalion carrying the stigma of Craufurd's disapproval! By 28th September there is to be a flurry of action for 4th Division, they are sitting near Aldea Ponte as a part of a much too thinly spread out observation of the Agueda and, of course the French across the water by Cuidad Rodrigo.  Marmont has thrown forward a great cavalry sweep to discover Wellington's strength to be followed up by a probe of infantry under General Theibault whose men come upon units of 4th Division about Aldea Ponte casting out amongst others the company of Brunswick Oels Jäeger.    Their comrades of 1/7th Fusiliers are sent in to regain this place but as night closes in Theibault attacks again and finishes the day in possession.

Brunswick Oels Jäeger has lost one man killed and three more wounded so:

28th September 1811 (after the combat at Aldea Ponte)

Brunswick Oels Jäeger 1 company 2nd Brigade 4th Division                                                                                                       
PAB 45

This tiny action finishes the year for Brunswick Oels Jäeger taking them into winter quarters, 7th Division well back at Penamacor but 4th Division by Gallegos/Barbe del Puerco in close observation as too 5th Division up against the Agueda facing Cuidad Rodrigo.

As the New Year opens it will be just that one company brigaded with 4th Division that sees any action at the siege and storm of Cuidad Rodrigo, they are close up to the Agueda when Wellington decides for violent offensive moves. This quite tiny company will surely be a part of the rostered trench guard and sharpshooting team that plays its part on 11th-15th-19th January assisting to subdue this minor fortress, no information comes our way as to their conduct or casualties incurred however so, it remains to once again, move on. Their comrades in 5th Division will enter the scene the day after the successful assault and storm with the job of restoring order, with the rest of the battalion amongst 7th Division marching up from their reserve stance two days later. Nothing more is to be heard until the middle of March, it is still wintry of course and now the northern part of Wellington's army start to go south to see what can be done before the much stronger frontier fortress of Badajoz. Before we can go too much further it will pay to examine figures well ahead of this part of the 1812 campaign season dealing as we are with so few to work with. Replacements by way of convalescents, drafts and recruits from deserters must be considered if sensible numbers are to fall into place, so, rationalising from much later data we can expect that the different companies of Brunswick Oels Jäeger as this part of the campaign begins will look like this;

16th March 1812 (the taking of Badajoz)

Brunswick Oels Jäeger 1 company 2nd Brigade 4th Division                                                                                                       
PUA 58

Brunswick Oels Jäeger 1 company 1st Brigade 5th Division                                                                                                        
PUA 76

Brunswick Oels Jäeger 1 company 2nd Brigade 5th Division                                                                                                       
PUA   65             

Brunswick Oels Jäeger 9 companies 1st Brigade 7th Division                                                                                                      
PUA 566

The 9 companies with 7th Division are first to move having the longest journey, they are to go with Lieutenant General Thomas Graham and two other Divisions all the way into Estremadura manœuvring even as far as the road to Seville, their task to ward off any aggressive moves by the enemy which might disturb those men attacking Badajoz. Along with 3rd & Light Divisions the ever busy men of 4th Division will be the ones to receive the honour of dealing with whatever Governor Phillipon can devise to make life not just uncomfortable but downright dangerous- to-terminal at the forbidding walls of Badajoz. The other two companies with 5th Division come into our sight and into the action only on the night of the storm, what then do we have to work with on behalf of the Jäeger of Brunswick Oels  ? Very little, we do know that with Light Division the men of 4th Division took a hiding they would never forget at the main breach on the night of 6th April 1812, at the very least we can expect that their company of Brunswick Oels Jäeger would be set down in whatever cover they could find to provide what turned out to be some totally inadequate sharpshooting at the enemy at the breach. Their comrades in the two companies with 5th Division meanwhile would be with Major General George Walker in the escalade taking place away to the left, successfully as it turned out, but yet again not a word as to the exploits of the Brunswick Oels JäegerBrunswick Oels Jäeger.

What we do have is the solid information that Captain Carl von Girsewald has been mortally wounded and Lieutenant Frederich  von Kunowsky hit too, here we have to use hindsight to see how we can apportion casualties from these three companies.

Recorded at 7 killed and 26 wounded in the rank and file it is possible [yet again by rationalising only] to show, after the storm:

7th April 1812 (after the storm of Badajoz)

Brunswick Oels Jäeger 1 company 2nd Brigade 4th Division                                                                                                       
PAB 42

Brunswick Oels Jäeger 1 company 1st Brigade 5th Division                                                                                                        
PAB 69

Brunswick Oels Jäeger 1 company 2nd Brigade 5th Division                                                                                                       
PAB 53

Just five days later having had to come to terms with the cruel losses of this action the army is put in motion, Marmont has been showing something of his character by making rather adventurous thrusts into the Portuguese hinterland well to the north over the frontier above Cuidad Rodrigo. He has committed just enough of his infantry force to offer a prime target to Wellington so long as the available troops can be disengaged from the valley of the Guadiana to cut him off. Our interest lies with 4th, 5th and 7th Divisions, the first two march for Campo Mayor on 12th April while 7th Division the same day gets off to Elvas, all must cross the Tagus at Villa Velha then up to Castello Branco a week later, a week of rain it seems. Marmont begins to lose his spirit of adventure turning about and, with no knowledge that he is in any sort of danger retires back across the Agueda and safety as 4th and 5th Divisions come up too late to be a nuisance but to pull up before that frontier feature by 24th April. Some seven weeks later the CIC has his northern army drawn up in three tight columns ready to make an offensive strike into the plains of Leon, particularly aimed at the great city of Salamanca, he expects a strong reaction from Marmont's Army of Portugal, and, gets it.

It has to be that this period has allowed a steady increase of numbers for Brunswick Oels Jäeger, looking ahead there will be better figures for all these companies as we approach the Arapiles in two months time. On 13th June 1812 4th and 5th Divisions are to be seen in the central column, under Marshal William Carr Beresford whilst 7th Division march a little to their right, under Major General John Hope, all headed towards the Tormes and Salamanca, this place being largely undefended, so, in only a week of steady marching is quickly occupied. The enemy have left garrisons of men here in strongly reinforced buildings covering the bridges over the Tormes, creating small forts out of these large religious/academic stone built places, it will be left to others to overcome the defenders whilst the rest of Wellington's men counter the moves of the field army sent against them. At the village of Morisco on 22nd June 7th Division will be involved in a skirmish of sorts with some of Marmont's men, Halkett who holds 1st Brigade sends the Brunswick Oels Jäeger and 2/KGL Light at this place with orders which suggest only a mild attack to excite the enemy to escalate this little combat into a more serious affair even to bringing on a general action. Marmont is not deceived so that this effort is allowed to subside, Brunswick Oels th sides reverting to their previous stance not however before counting the cost.

Captain Johann Reiche has been mortally wounded and Lieutenant John von Schwarzenberg injured as are another 12 men and one killed of Brunswick Oels Jäeger so as the army marches and manœuvres for the better part of the next blazing hot few weeks;

15th July 1812 (approaching the plains behind Salamanca)

Brunswick Oels Jäeger 1 company 2nd Brigade 4th Division
PUA 54

Brunswick Oels Jäeger 1 company 1st Brigade 5th Division
PUA 78

Brunswick Oels Jäeger 1 company 2nd Brigade 5th Division
PUA 69

Brunswick Oels Jäeger 9 companies 1st Brigade 7th Division                                                                                                                                     
PAB 596

When the final head-on engagement unfolds on the rolling hills of the Arapiles there is much unravelling of information to be done before we can see how the various companies of Brunswick Oels Jäeger fared on this momentous occasion. Early in the day of 22nd July the men of 7th Division are noted to be at Nuestra de la Pena facing the French Division of General Maximilien Foy, their comrades in all of the battalions of Halkett and Bernewitz Brigades are said to have put forward their "Light Companies" a strange statement of Oman's considering that each and every one of these units is composed of totally light-infantrymen.

What we can expect then is that not much over six Flank companies plus the atiradores of 2nd Caçadores would have been engaged here, all of which turns out to be skirmishing but, for quite a long time while other parts of the contesting Divisions are moving about the countryside. The result of these other Divisional movements brings on an all-out general engagement but, much later in the day, meanwhile Foy Division and Hope Division appear to lose interest in their contacts to gradually disengage, Hope taking his men back into a deep reserve position leaving men of Light Division to amuse Foy’s men who will remain fairly well standing still as the right flank guard of Marmont's infantry.

Those three single companies in 4th and 5th Divisions have a far more interesting day, we are somewhat fortunate that one long serving Brunswick Oels   Jägers Captain Friederich Wackholtz was an officer who knew the historical value of writing about his adventures while fresh in mind. He, it seems had charge of that company of Brunswick Oels Jägers with the Fusilier Brigade of 4th Division [and luckily uninjured throughout this day], he tells of their Division’s whole seven skirmisher units deploying ahead of Major General Galbraith Lowry Cole's advance then facing the wrath of the enemy's artillery and skirmisher fire. When the opposing heavy infantry Brigades had fought out the great short range musket duel, gone forward, closed up, forward again then met the counter-attacks their skirmishers along with the rest, especially those of Anson's very much exposed Brigade would be attacked by new troops coming in on their exposed left flank. Now well outnumbered they are all thrust back in some disarray, enemy light cavalry come on the scene forcing all to form squares with whoever is closest. For 4th Division none of this will look remotely like a great victorious battle, when order is restored by others they will find themselves, as the dust cloud settles much bruised and battered but, for the survivors safe enough as the battle moves away from them. Meanwhile what of 5th Division?                     

When Major General James Leith puts in his attack the story will be much the same as in 4th Division but only for the first phase, there is to be no counter-attack and, in fact coming over their shoulders is a nicely timed massive cavalry charge against their shaken foes which sweeps all before it.

The two companies of Brunswick Oels Jäeger will join in the resultant retreat and rout of the enemy with perhaps now only occasional touches against them before all is done. In 7th Division once stood in reserve there is to be almost no further action, they will take up ground as the enemy retreats off in the centre of the line merely providing light support to the end of the day. With no information as to the severity of combat for any but those men of Captain Wackholtz's company and a casualty total made up for the whole battalion at 49 killed wounded and missing off we go into rationale. We are aware that in 7th Division one Lieutenant Albert von Griersheim has been wounded and, [by a comparison of overall casualties per Brigade in the three Divisions under examination] as few as five more of his men are hit. Those of Captain Wackholtz's companyin 4th Division being brought forward into a storm of fire, thrown back, scurrying into hasty square, confronted by disordered enemy cavalry troopers then eventually left behind we can expect no less than 20 men either killed, wounded or one taken prisoner. In 1st Brigade 5th Division the first confrontation will be similar, we can expect that Captain Frideric Luder is wounded here and perhaps one of his sergeants Carl Schultz [soon to be promoted to Ensign] who has his left arm shot away, along with as many as 15 of the men killed or wounded in this company.

More fortunate are those with 2nd Brigade 5th Division, having come up in second line and spent most of their day in close support, there can be no more than six men injured, so:

22nd July 1812 (after the battle on the Arapiles)

Brunswick Oels Jäeger 1 company 2nd Brigade 4th Division                                                                                                       
PAB 34

Brunswick Oels Jäeger 1 company 1st Brigade 5th Division                                                                                                        
PAB 61

Brunswick Oels Jäeger 1 company 2nd Brigade 5th Division                                                                                                       
PAB 63

Brunswick Oels Jäeger 9 companies 1st Brigade 7th Division                                                                                                      
PAB 590

The first moves the day after the great victory come as a slow pursuit of the defeated enemy, always preceded by light cavalry sweeps this involves Halkett's Brigade but only a piecemeal, 1/KGL Light. These light infantrymen are to support Major General Benjamin D'Urban's Portuguese troopers who are keeping in touch with the retiring enemy cavalry. The Brunswick Oels Jäeger are to be found well back from this follow-up advance so that when D'Urban and his men have been worsted and come tumbling back down the road to Las Rosas it will be the distantly approaching sight of the column headed by the rest of Halkett's Brigade that discourages the victorious enemy from proceeding further. The next day, 12th August the column enters Madrid to a tumultuous welcome, those companies of 4th and 5th Divisions follow so that all of the Brunswick Oels Jäeger are able to enjoy such delights as are showered upon them. Not however for very long, leaving behind those of 4th Division the rest in 5th and 7th Divisions are set to march northward up beyond the Douro and eventually to pull up at the Arlanzon River and the castle at Burgos.

It is 18th September and by good fortune Brunswick Oels th 5th and 7th Divisions are given the task of forming a perimeter line of defence while others go about the violent business of putting the castle under close siege and storm, there is little of note to take our interest until the enemy have begun to re-assemble a force large enough to give them some confidence that this siege might be broken. Things begin to warm up out on the picket lines as early as 13th October, we see from Wellington’s Dispatches [WD] that on that day Lieutenant Colonel Frederick Ponsonby is wounded and, much as a side issue that the men of Brunswick Oels Jäeger in 7th Division had repulsed an enemy attack on their positions by Monasterio, a town on the Grande Chausee well to the north of Burgos itself. Just five days later in this same area, mentioned as at Santa Olalla, a picket of Brunswick Oels Jäeger under Lieutenant Liznelsky is mentioned in WD as having been not only surprised but captured whole by the attacking French infantry, no less than 30 men in number according to Oman.

Note:

In searching J A Hall's excellent compendium there appears one Lt' Lyznewsky, he is wounded on two separate occasions neither of them at Monasterio/Santa Olalla and, much more interestingly, at no time captured. In Challis there is no Liznelsky recorded either. It is significant that throughout the whole of WD its compiler that "sharp fellow" Lieutenant Colonel Gurwood when referring to misdemeanours by British officers invariably strikes out the name, no such deference then for Brunswick Oels officers.

At the risk of dwelling too long on this matter it must be said that whilst Wellington was critical of this occurrence, to the point of writing it up in a dispatch to no less a person than Earl Bathurst, he does say that the picket was already under orders to have retired from this forward position so, what was lost other that a handful of men who at no time got praise from their CIC anyway?

By now it is only a few days before the CIC will call off the siege and begin to withdraw his perimeter guard from the whole area to the north of Burgos town. On 20th October Halkett Brigade is at Quintanapalla, still some way north of Burgos on the Grande Chausee when they are called upon to repulse an over-optimistic attack when well set to turn it back. Casualties for Brunswick Oels Jäeger here must be minimal but merely show as 47 of all ranks throughout the entire 7th Division , so we must move on. The retreat from Burgos proper now begins, we shall receive no news of Brunswick Oels Jäeger other than the general route and rate of retirement until we examine the doings of those two companies with 5th Division. It is 24th October and 5th Division will be on the line of the Carrion river its two companies of Brunswick Oels Jäeger no less hung-over from over-imbibing the new wine of Torquemada than its comrades, they must be scattered along this river on its western side not too far from Palencia when General Foy makes a dash at that place.  A detachment of men of 3/1st battalion ordered to assist in the blowing up of the bridge here were surprised and not only failed to damage the structure but all got themselves captured in the bargain. No harsh words on this occasion for the Royal Scots from their Colonel Campbell!

Lower down the river at Villa Muriel men of Major General William Pringle's Brigade of 5th Division whilst managing to at least damage their bridge at Tariego got themselves captured too, 40 men or so in number, the enemy were able to cross this one also but were held some way beyond. In all of this the Brunswick Oels Jäeger must have been close by, support from brigade skirmishers being briefly mentioned, however, Brunswick Oels th of these passages of the Carrion/Pisuerga [the former flows into the latter] were certainly in the hands of the enemy and not a word of complaint to the management in London.  As though these examples of preferment are not enough, enemy cavalry at one point manage to ford the bed of the Carrion sweeping in 34 men of 1/9th batt' who are yet again surprised! With the "line" in so much disarray hereaBrunswick Oels uts Wellington orders a full-on charge by 5th Division which does stabilise matters at least to restoring some semblance of order.

And what of our two companies of Brunswick Oels Jäeger in all of this?  We know for sure that Captain George von Sternfeld and Lieutenant Carl Hartwig have been killed whilst Captain Ludwig von Nassau has been wounded, in a day when no one seems to have been in sole charge we are to understand that 5th Division as a whole lost around 550 men. Collectively then the two brigaded companies must have no less than 40 men down in this confused action. With the Brunswick Oels Jäeger being in constant touch with the enemy in their role as rearguard infantry it will be some time before we can have a reckoning for losses, there is more to come.

By 29th October 7th Division have retired on Valladolid, Halkett sending his 9 companies battalion of Brunswick Oels Jäeger westward to Tordesillas, their task to hold the bridge across the Douro and defend its broken arch. Their Major in charge sites almost all of his men on high ground well back from the river putting just ½ company of men in the tower on the southern bank and along its abutments.  This is where Captain Guingret of the French 6th Leger writes himself into history, with some 50 or so doughty comrades stripped of uniforms and pushing a raft of arms and ammunition they secretly ford the Douro, pounce on the unsuspecting Jäeger putting half to flight and capturing the rest, Oman makes great play of the surprise here, unlike any of those of the last few days elsewhere accusing them of "losing their heads in disgraceful fashion", [he was there of course wasn't he?!].

We are told that the Major in charge must also have fallen into some dereliction of duty by not throwing Guingret and his band of heroes back into the river but, when all has quietened down Wellington has every man of his army safely behind the Douro and the bridgehead at Tordesillas strongly contained, all by the next day.

Perhaps now would be a good time to examine as best we can the casualty count for this part of the Burgos campaign.  It is very much the case for the whole of Wellington's Burgos army that the infantry battalions saw almost no sign of returning convalescents during the period. Such small drafts as came up to the army generally made no impression on numbers other than perhaps to infuse them with touches of Walcheren Fever, we should proceed then from last numbers with just a small percentage gain from recovered Salamanca walking wounded.

1st November 1812 (behind the Douro by Rueda)

Brunswick Oels Jäeger 1company 1st Brigade 5th Division                                                                                                         
PUA 39  

Brunswick Oels Jäeger 1 company 2nd Brigade 5th Division                                                                                                       
PUA 41

Brunswick Oels Jäeger 9 companies 1st Brigade 7th Division                                                                                                      
PUA 554

Of that single company with 4th Division we can only assume that its numbers would improve whilst resting about the Madrid environs, they of course are now on the move prior to the eventual concentration on the old fighting grounds of the Arapiles.

We pick them up on the night of 29th October having been given orders to pull back from their positions none too far from Aranjuez where Soult sits on the other side of the upper Tagus. They leave Añover during the night marching behind the Puente Larga heading north towards a concentration of Lieutenant General Rowland Hill's Corps now required to meet up with Wellington's Burgos army coming south. Passing through Valdemoro they come upon the 1812 wine vintage abandoned by its owners, it is too much to expect that they would ignore this gift from the God Bacchus the outcome being that when Captain Wackholtz settled down the following night at Aravaca he could count only seven men of his company present. We do know that he set out with as many as 60 Jäeger two days earlier so, yes indeed their numbers had almost doubled during their stay about Añover, in his journal Wackholtz does infer that most of his absent drunkards would return, they are not alone, Wellington has the Colonel of 1/82nd [could this be Brevet Lieutenant Colonel Henry King a very temporary member of Lieutenant Colonel Henry Ellis's Fusilier Brigade] put under arrest, his score of drunks at 80 men. Four days later on 4th November Hill has his Corps beyond the Guadaramma at Villacastin and well on the way to making a union with Wellington's major part of the army; they come together by 8th November about the positions variously occupied just prior to the great battle at the Arapiles in July.

Being now concentrated the combined British force would have some difficulty in finding reasonable cover for its men against the rapidly worsening onset of winter weather. It was this factor which had the greatest effect on the eventual tactics decided on by Brunswick Oels th contestants; everyone involved had already done their fair share of marching and mostly in only just bearable conditions. It was to get far worse and, quite soon. Standing to arms on the old Arapiles position Wellington plays out his bluff, it is called by Soult who makes an obvious but pedestrian flank movement suggesting threats to his rearward communications and off goes the whole of the defending force, in pouring rain to retire back onto the Portuguese frontier. As this develops the single company of Brunswick Oels Jäeger with 4th Division are once more separated from the rest of their battalion taking a route a little to the south of 5th and 7th Divisions and very briefly as part of the rearguard. They are soon relieved of this task and have to merely get on with the business of surviving, little or no food in the way of organised rations come their way, heavy black clouds scurry by, there is mud everywhere, and almost continuous bitterly cold rain. All of this is true also for the two companies with 5th Division who, marching ahead of 7th Division in their so-called central column get separated allowing small parties of enemy light cavalry to get between them and, more importantly to get at the baggage of 7th Division, plundering it at will.  For the rank and file members of Brunswick Oels Jäeger this is of no consequence at all, everything they possess is sitting on their backs in a soggy pile and heavy with water so as we say in the 21st Century "what's the big deal "? The 9 companies in 7th Division will have the worst of conditions of all the Brunswick Oels Jäeger being well to the rear of the column on pathways that were almost useless before a single unit set foot on them. Through a miscalculation on the part of a number of Divisional commanders 7th Division at one stage was forced to stand halted in the rain while a whole "army" of Spaniards got use of the road ahead before them, they were being led by Major General George Ramsay the Earl of Dalhousie at the time.

It is perhaps as well to move on to see the whole army once behind the Agueda, Wellington now has quite a task before him, he needs a head count of every battalion, squadron and artillery unit, he must then set them all off to winter quarters whilst sending off Dispatches to Horse Guards explaining how it is that he is pretty much back where he started in the first days of summer of 1812. The single companies of Brunswick Oels Jäeger meanwhile will very briefly be in close contact with their HQ organisation before heading to their respective cantonments, 1 company with 4th Division going down the Douro by S'Joâo de Pesquiera, the 2 companies with 5th Division a little further down the Douro about Lamego while the many Brunswick Oels dy with 7th Division settle down at Moimento da Serra and Santa Marinha. The period of rest and restoration of numbers is now to be quite extensive, from December 1813 to May 1813, a full six months, meanwhile the whole scene in the Peninsula takes on a new aspect.

For the Brunswickers there is much to be examined, their chances of receiving new drafts to fill up the gaps are slim, they have no base depot to call upon in England, their Duke who is in residence there is more interested in rousing up his countrymen for an insurrection along with his neighBrunswick Oels urs the Hanoverians somewhat naively expecting Napoleon to have shot-his-Brunswick Oels lt after the Russian Campaign disaster. Various officers of his battalion in Portugal showed a preference for a European expedition under their Duke all of this however coming to nought, Wellington it seems did actually see some advantage in retaining this small unit of Jäeger probably as a part of his robust resistance to the Duke of York's persistent demands for him to send home those likewise much depleted British battalions. Figures available in SD [Supplementary Dispatches] show that whilst the Brunswick Oels Jäeger were certainly low in number during April 1813 they were not alone, at least another dozen of the British battalions could only muster similar strengths while eight others, even weaker, had to be paired up to form Provisional Battalions. The outcome as we know was settled in favour of keeping all but two very weak British battalions "on the strength" even though the wrangling at Horse Guards never really gave up altogether.  Best then that we show those revealing April figures, so:

26th April 1813 (in cantonments down the Douro)

Brunswick Oels Jäeger 1 company 2nd Brigade 4th Division                                                                                                       
PUA 42

Brunswick Oels Jäeger 1 company 1st Brigade 5th Division                                                                                                        
PUA 36

Brunswick Oels Jäeger 1 company 2nd Brigade 5th Division                                                                                                       
PUA 36

Brunswick Oels Jäeger 9 companies 1st Brigade 7th Division                                                                                                      
PUA 393

Whilst the campaign of 1813 got off to a very late start, blamed on the slow growth of green fodder for the cavalry and artillery horses it is just as likely that the CIC was more watchful of any movement which might suggest a strategic withdrawal of all the French armies towards the north in concert with a hoped for reduction in the Emperor's domains. With no such luck it required that the army now swelling in size agreeably would have to do the job for them so off they go. There has been a change in the composition of 7th Division 1st Brigade , Halkett has gone, taking with him the 1/2/KGL Light to be replaced by one of those Provisional Battalions of very hardy men plus the 1/6th [1st Warwick's] newly landed at Lisbon but supposedly well recovered from the fevers of Walcheren. Interestingly one of the amalgamated battalions making up 3rd Provisionals is 2nd Warwick's, strangely it was often the case that where a second battalion had a different Regimental number there would be little or no organisational contact [in some cases not even so much as acknowledgement either]. The history of 1/6th [already dealt with] shows this as an extremely strong battalion, giving the brigade the appearance of some balance for numbers but in reality an imbalance of experience. Major General Edward Barnes, a fearless leader, has them in hand. The long march up to the Zadorra River and the battlefield before Vittoria proves uneventful for all of the companies of Brunswick Oels Jäeger excepting that one led by Captain Wackholtz in 4th Division.                                                    

On 31st May they cross the river Elsa at Almendra, the ford here is only marginally possible so that Hussars of Colonel Colquhoun Grant's Brigade drag them across by their stirrups not very successfully it seems. Wackholtz's companywould lose about 15 valued men drowned by this risky business.  Little else is recorded on their behalf excepting to observe that as the army got into rougher country nearer to Vittoria the previously plentiful food supply received in the plains gave out leaving them back to short rations of biscuit.  However, there is a mysterious entry in J A Hall which shows Lieutenant William Meyer as having received a serious wound during this period [12th-19th June] it is possible that this could have occurred during the confused contacts with the enemy under General Sarrut at Osma, Oman shows one officer and one man in 4th Division’s skirmishers hit here without reference to a parent battalion. This of course is Wackholtz's company and that officer a reliable scribe makes no mention of this, thus we have our mystery.

Upon arrival the three Divisions are quite separate along the battle front, actually arrival is perhaps the wrong word here, Dalhousie has 7th Division in hand failing to show up on the field with Major General Edward Barnes' Brigade at all, so, let us look at 4th Division first. Here there has been a change of commander in 2nd Brigade, Ellis has gone and the grossly incompetent Brigadier John Skerrett has them in hand down on the central approaches via the road from Nanclares, the battle is well contested elsewhere for a considerable time before they are called upon to advance, this into some heavy artillery fire.

Skerrett's Brigade being last in line could only receive a few spent cannonballs hitting its formation, none of which would effect the now quite tiny company of Brunswick Oels Jäeger, so we must look at the doings of 5th Division. Graham has them up north at the Zadorra facing the bridge at Gamarra Mayor, Major General Frederick Robinson's Brigade with the task of attempting to force this crossing, no such luck, their company of Brunswick Oels Jäeger, with the rest of the light companies here can only get as far as the river bank, find cover and engage their opposite numbers in Sarrut's Division until the day is well spent and the armies of King Joseph Brunswick Oels naparte retreat thoroughly beaten all along their front. It would be here that Lieutenant Frederick von der Heyde and five of his men are wounded; this then completes the action for the Jäeger this day.  More than likely the sharing of loot and the celebration attendant to that pleasant task would only involve the fragment of that company in 4th Division whose advance would have taken them in a direct line towards this huge treasure trove! With no sure figures available for many a long time past we are compelled to make a measured judgment here so:

21st June 1813 (after the battle at Vittoria)

Brunswick Oels Jäeger one company 2nd Brigade 4th Division                                                                                                                  
PAB 35

Brunswick Oels Jäeger 1 company 1st Brigade 5th Division                                                                                                        
PAB 43

Brunswick Oels Jäeger 1 company 2nd Brigade 5th Division                                                                                                       
PAB 37

Brunswick Oels Jäeger 9 companies 1st Brigade 7th Division                                                                                                      
PAB 390

The rest of the 1813 campaign will see the Brunswick Oels Jäeger engaged, one could say, here-there-and-everywhere, they will need close examination for the rest of the year. This is the time now where the CIC is at his most caustic regarding the indiscipline of his army generally he lambasts his officer class outrageously sending off dispatches to Horse Guards full of recrimination all of which come about as a result of the inability of his chain-of-command to get a firm hold of the vast treasure left by the routed enemy. The loss of so much gold, silver and convertible jewellery etc' to his junior officers and their rank and file will be on his mind whilst he is lamenting the reduction of numbers of his fighting men from their regimental colours, his letters follow that style of his which always reduces his logic down to simple arithmetical function. So many men to begin with, so many killed and wounded, so many in hospitals, and so on until he reaches the obvious figure of so many missing without good reason.

It goes into thousands immediately after the battle, all of which is mentioned here when we are to examine his so-called "worst examples", Brunswick Oels Jäeger and Chasseurs Britanniques.

Note:

The temporary disappearance of thousands of his regular British infantrymen out in the hills he deplores of course but never calls them by name, on every occasion possible he is at pains to let Bathurst or Liverpool know of the misbehaviour of those last mentioned battalions going so far as to implicate a regiment he calls the York Light Volunteers, this seemingly a base unit which specialises in processing men as recruits from the sharpshooter "deserters" residing in the jails of Lisbon . It never shows up as a unit in the field but perhaps is organised in the way that today we recognise those engaged in the "laundering of illegal immigrants".      

We must move on.

Wackholtz's company  in 4th Division after chasing about aimlessly in search of General Bertrand Clausel's Corps will settle down for a while at the blockade of Pamplona while 7th Division will be taken from there by Brigadier Barnes into the Bastan with others to make sure that Joseph's beaten army gets safely back to France. Graham has 5th Division and others on the far left following up the last remnants under Foy up the Grande Chaussee and it will be the two companies with this Division that a contact with the enemy is first recorded. Major General Andrew Hay's 1st Brigade has the task of storming an outwork of the San Sebastian fortress on the Biscay coast, it is the 17th July and the place San Bartolome, there is no mention of those 40 plus men of Brunswick Oels Jäeger who must have been present. The attack is successful but on the next morning we see [JA Hall] that their Adjutant/ Lieutenant Johann von Normann has been hit.  The records are similarly silent on any part that the Brunswick Oels Jäeger might have played in the aBrunswick Oels rtive storm of the first breaches at San Sebastian on 25th July, with less than 80 men to call upon it has to be the case that they would be held back down in the trenches ostensibly to lay down some sort of sniping duty at the wall's defenders.

This must have proved more than just difficult, the range was long and the day was so early that the first light of dawn would be only appearing as the whole thing petered out. However up in the hills of the lower Pyrenees the men of 7th Division are hotly engaged up in the Pass of Maya, they have come upon a tussle involving men of 2nd Division quite late but decisive as it turns out. Barnes, a real "fire-eater" sends his men in at the charge with Brunswick Oels Jäeger and 1/6th supporting 1/82nd with a will, Captains Ernst de Braxien and Frederick von Proestler are wounded as is Lieutenant Albert von Griersheim who is to die four days later of his injuries, eight of their men are killed and 15 wounded whilst another fifteen are taken prisoner in a see-saw affair. Whilst Napier in his "History" berates the Brunswick Oels Jäeger for what he calls their tiresome desertion it may be better that we look at the whole figures of prisoners captured hereaBrunswick Oels uts in this day's violent actions.  No less than 337 taken from 7th and 2nd Divisions, none of the others, lambasted for their capture/desertion that day.

Meanwhile Wackholtz’s companyy  with 4th Division at the same time are up in the Roncesvalles Pass to the far left on the Linduz hillside, that Captain as usual leaving an excellent account of the day's events.  Put out ahead very early in the day his company observe the very slow appearance of the enemy, his men have, when things get interesting, found a good defensive position only approachable by a narrow front. When relieved by 1/20th they can fall back in an ordered retirement as, ultimately do all, having lost just two men killed and two wounded, not a prisoner/deserter amongst them. It is in this action that Napier accuses Brunswick Oels Jäeger of deserting to the tune of 42 men, Wackholtz and the whole of his company that day did not have that number even present! So, it is time to count up heads again, Oman's text on two occasions during these combats says that the Brunswick Oels Jäeger companies would come on with 60 men each, I imagine that this is purely an arbitrary figure settled on as an average for the whole army and to give the reader a feel for seeing limited numbers fed into the conflict, it is not possible at all for these numbers to be substantiated, especially when so often Oman himself decries their deserting propensity's.

25th July 1813 (at the storm of San Bartolome and the Pyrenees Passes)

Brunswick Oels Jäeger 1 company 2nd Brigade 4th Division                                                                                                       
PAB 36

Brunswick Oels Jäeger 1 company 1st Brigade 5th Division                                                                                                       
PAB 40

Brunswick Oels Jäeger 1 company 2nd Brigade 5th Division                                                                                                      
PAB 35

Brunswick Oels Jäeger 9 companies 1st Brigade 7th Division                                                                                                     
PAB 361

Only three days later Soult's invading forces have come up to the village of Sorauren in their efforts to relieve Pamplona, they will get no further than here, on 28th July they are heavily engaged against Wellington's defensive line where only Wackholtz's company of Brunswick Oels Jäeger are to be involved of that regiment. Their part, being tiny in number, is correspondingly small with Ross' Brigade of 4th Division they will be up on the hill of Oricain amongst some cut-and-thrust engagements, all fire, charges, counter-charges, more musket volleys, the day just goes on and on. Wackholtz's men do very well to suffer but one man killed three wounded and one taken prisoner, they must stand down at:

28th July (on the hill of Oricain)

Brunswick Oels Jäeger one company 2nd Brigade 4th Division                                                                                                 
PAB 31

Over by San Sebastian the men of Brunswick Oels Jäeger in 5th Division will be quietly standing down, as the CIC has had to get over to the Pyrenean Passes Graham is ordered to pull back from the siege making it more of a simple blockade until matters can be stabilised on his eastern side. Not so of course up in the Passes, the army, having withstood all that the French could throw at them go on the attack to sweep Soult's men out of the area altogether, and, this time permanently, not without a struggle though.

Barnes Brigade of 7th Division has been directed to march some way westward to fight with 2nd Division heading across country on hill paths and, unfortunately in a veritable deluge of rain. Becoming Brunswick Oels gged down with broken vehicles, sliding about in the mud and darkness as night came on they can only arrive as a belated reserve force taking no part in the action thereaBrunswick Oels uts. They will return, somewhat bedraggled, and by 30th July are close enough to the fighting about Sorauren to compromise a retreating enemy column under Taupin which is making its way north by west and quite isolated from the general action at that village. Barnes' men have the advantage of high ground looking down steeply into the road by which Taupin's men are passing. Firing down with virtually no response from the enemy these fugitives soon disperse up the hillsides opposite finding paths more northerly to Olague and the Col de Vilate. On this occasion we can agree that perhaps some members of Brunswick Oels Jäeger did have a great desire to abandon their battalion's ranks.

Looking at the events as they unfold here it is not possible to see how the fleeing enemy could have secured the capture of 14 men of Brunswick Oels Jäeger and yet, their adjutant must record that number lost by this means on 30th July. With two men killed and just one wounded this unit can hardly be said to have been at the forefront of any see-saw affair [the usual way by which men are taken prisoner].  Before counting heads here we should perhaps allow the events to unfold another three days to complete the expulsion of the French forces from the Spanish Pyrenees.

At Echalar on 2nd August after much cross-country marching Barnes' Brigade of 7th Division have come up to a force under General Conroux who are well placed on high ground but, knowing nothing of the closeness of Dalhousie's battalions are quite ill prepared for the sort of attack that these two commanders are wont to use. Dalhousie, always ready to give Barnes his head and that one always ready to "go for the jugular” so the result an uphill charge over open ground against men who are barely ready to receive it. The outcome is a qualified success insofar as the enemy are put to flight but not before inflicting some 300 casualties on this brigade, almost exclusively amongst the 1/6th and 3rd Provisionals.  Looking at this casualty list it is obvious that Brunswick Oels Jäeger rank and file were less than enthusiastic to sell their lives whilst their officers, in the fine tradition of the early 19th Century put themselves in the way of danger alongside their English counterparts. Acting Lieutenant Colonel Frederick von Hertsberg, Lieutenants Adolph von Brombson and Ernst von Kosehenbar and Ensign  Julius Geyer are all wounded but only 7 men likewise with one more killed and another two gone missing. On the same day 4th Division Ross' Brigade will get up to the same fighting ground and have a very brief contact with the enemy who by now are well on the way to making no fight of it.

Whilst there will be token casualties amongst the British component of Ross' Brigade there are none to be shown against Wackholtz’s company of Brunswick Oels Jäeger, thus ending the day for this unit; so:

2nd August 1813 (after the expulsion of Soult's incursions into the Pyrenean Passes)

Brunswick Oels Jäeger 1 company 2nd Brigade 4th Division                                                                                                         
PAB 31

Brunswick Oels Jäeger 9 companies 1st Brigade 7th Division                                                                                                        
PAB 330

There follows a period of recovery for Brunswick Oels th sides, the French to collect their scattered remnants to be blended back into the appearance at least of fighting units whilst the British and their allied units set up safe defensive positions in the various Passes and look to the reduction of the garrisons of Pamplona and San Sebastian. As to Brunswick Oels Jäeger we now lose all recognition of their company placements within those three Divisions identified up to this time. Mrs Mary Oman the keeper of the Oman Appendix is no longer given individual company counts to put in their various places, not even to recognise that there might even be still a continuation of that distribution. It is only through the Oman text and occasional references in Supplementary Dispatches that we can now follow the fortunes of this much maligned battalion and its single company fragments, let us read on! It is normal to expect that during a lull in any campaign there will be a steady return to the colours for most well regulated units as well as an influx of newly drafted recruits.   All of this dependent on the time of such a period of rest, for those two companies of 5th Division this time was perhaps not spent in repose, more likely in a return to duty before the walls of San Sebastian. We are informed that Lieutenant John von Schwarzenberg is wounded during the siege and on 25th August is reported missing. Six days later when the storm is mounted it is to be expected that the two companies of Brunswick Oels Jäeger will be amongst the sharpshooters as close up to the walls as possible, to this end when all else in 5th Division have so valiantly thrown themselves into the fight Lieutenant Charles von Hullessen and six of his men will have been wounded, two killed and five gone missing.

1st September 1813 (after the storm of San Sebastian)

Brunswick Oels Jäeger 1 company 1st Brigade 5th Division                                                                                                            
PAB 34

Brunswick Oels Jäeger 1 company 2nd Brigade 5th Division                                                                                                           
PAB 29

It is a full month before there is to be any action to report; at the battle on the heights at San Marcial on 31st August Barnes Brigade of 7th Division is still standing about Echalar at the beginning of the day. Dalhousie in his normal way responds sluggishly to Wellington's order to move his Division westward in support of the Spanish troops who are receiving frontal attacks from across the Bidassoa. So much so that the whole thing has petered out in streaming rain before they can come to blows, Soult's men already well in retreat and the Spaniards triumphant. Yet another month passes by and it will be Major General Frederick Robinson's Brigade of 5th Division we see crossing the Bidassoa onto French soil by the rivulets and sandbanks of its estuary, Brevet Lieutenant Colonel Charles Greville Brigade coming on to their right turning inland alongside 1st Division Light companies. This is a very swift affair, little opposition being encountered excepting for some violent attention from a battery of guns at Hendaye.

However, there is some confusion in Mr’s Oman's Appendix which shows Brunswick Oels Jäeger companies attached to 4th and 1st Divisions as receiving the casualties, not so, Major Frantz von Fragstein, Captain Frideric Wolfradt, Lieutenants Schneider and Friderick Thiele in the two 5th Division companies are all wounded as are 18 of their men with 7 more killed. The confusion continues as we find that Lieutenant Augustus Gruttemann, an officer in Barnes Brigade of 7th Division is also wounded here abouts although possibly two days later in front of the village of Sare whilst attempting to get into that place.

Mysteriously our redoubtable Captain Wackholtz attached to Ross Brigade of 4th Division has finally collected a wound for himself, that Brigade being nowhere near any reported action during the Bidassoa crossings.

9th October 1813 (after the crossing of the Bidassoa)

Brunswick Oels Jäeger 1 company 1st Brigade 5th Division                                                                                                        
PAB 19

Brunswick Oels Jäeger 1 company 2nd Brigade 5th Division                                                                                                       
PAB 14

Obviously these last two companies of Brunswick Oels   Jägers will need to recover their numbers if they are to remain in the field as indeed must the whole battalion. With hindsight it is the case that at the end of this month and going into November there is by some means an overall recovery of a hundred men, perhaps not too evenly distributed, but there nevertheless. Their next appearance is on the Nivelle on the 10th of that month, unfortunately given as a composite number in 7th Division, I am left to estimate;

10th November (on the Nivelle)

Brunswick Oels Jäeger one company 2nd Brigade 4th Division                                                                                                   
PUA 44

Brunswick Oels Jäeger 1 company 1st Brigade 5th Division                                                                                                       
PUA 35

Brunswick Oels Jäeger 1 company 2nd Brigade 5th Division                                                                                                       
PUA 33

Brunswick Oels Jäeger 9 companies 1st Brigade 7th Division                                                                                                      
PUA 387

Starting on the far left flank of the attack 5th Division will be close by the sea; Lieutenant General John Hope has overall command here with orders to do no more than make demonstrations to keep the enemy occupied.  This comes down to skirmisher fire and for the men of Greville's and Robinson's Brigades who must have operated about the Camp des Sans Culottes a loss of no more than six men between them. Wackholtz's companyof 4th Division are set to attack St' Barbe and to go on to Sare itself, it is likely that this unit will suffer seven casualties in coming up to this last obstacle.  Meanwhile the Brunswick Oels Jäeger of 7th Division will have had serious work in front of the Grenade redout and later running up to the LouisX1V redout collecting as many as 59 casualties in total. It is impossible to extract from the vague information in Oman any more than this, however, by way of JA Hall we know that the regiment this day lost Captains William von Koch and Wilelm von Unruh, Lieutenant Adolph von Brombson and Ensign Charles Biermon all seriously wounded and Lieutenant Carl Schartroth killed, so:

10th November (after the combats on the Nivelle)

Brunswick Oels Jäeger 1 company 2nd Brigade 4th Division                                                                                                       
PAB 37

Brunswick Oels Jäeger 1 company 1st Brigade 5th Division                                                                                                        
PAB 32

Brunswick Oels Jäeger 1 company 2nd Brigade 5th Division                                                                                                       
PAB 30

Brunswick Oels Jäeger 9 companies 1st Brigade 7th Division                                                                                                      
PAB 328

Yet another month goes by before there is to be any action, winter is upon the army already with cold winds and rains the constant companions. The men of Wackholtz’s company in Ross Brigade of 4th Division will not be involved excepting to do a good deal of countermarching along rain-ruined roads and pathways. All of the fighting for the Jäeger falls to those men of 5th Division who will only be engaged fragmentally during the three days of 9-10-11th December. Known as the battles of the Nive these two companies are part of that flimsy skirmish line left out by Hope when he explored the terrain away up past Lake Mouriscot almost up to the Ardour estuary. There was to be much confused man-on-man fighting for the Line regiments with many of the Light companies often surrounded to escape capture only by break-out and swift retreat. Seemingly not so for the doughty Jäeger however, during the whole period these two companies lost just ten men none captured but of the officers Lieutenant Frederick von der Heyde wounded on the 10th December and Lieutenant Julius Lyznewsky wounded on the 11th December. It is perhaps best not to attempt a set of figures at this time in mid-January 1814 we shall receive sure numbers through Supplementary Dispatches, which reveal some sobering information. The major part of the Duke of Brunswick Oels Jäeger companies have suffered, by some means, serious loss which, had they been directly controlled by Horse Guards from the Office of the Duke of York might well have seen them taken out of service.

The figures speak for themselves, so:

16th January 1814 (cantoned about the Biscay coast)

Brunswick Oels Jäeger 1 company 2nd Brigade 4th Division                                                                                                       
PUA 42

Brunswick Oels Jäeger 1 company 1st Brigade 5th Division                                                                                                        
PUA 25

Brunswick Oels Jäeger 1 company 2nd Brigade 5th Division                                                                                                       
PUA 20

Brunswick Oels Jäeger 9 companies 1st Brigade 7th Division                                                                                                      
PUA 250

There can be little doubt that Captain Wackholtz was the only officer of that corps who knew how to keep his men together, for the rest it may well be that Napier had a point! This mid January return to Horse Guards however does no favours to most regiments in Wellington’s army, for some reason this whole list is somewhat ‘feather-weight’ for numbers. Certainly it was winter as severe as it could manage but here was two months of respite with most infantry units maintaining reasonable numbers, we must move on. Perhaps it will be best to deal with those two companies attached to 5th Division first.  We are informed that 5th Division as the weather turns more toward frosty days and more solid ground these men will take up the occupation of the Mouserolles positions to the south of Bayonne so that others may begin to prepare for the crossing of the Adour Estuary.

We can safely leave them there while the doings of 4th and 7th Divisions are explored. It will be 12th February when these men will start the advances designed to push Marshal Soult's troops away from the huge Bayonne garrison. All goes well for Wackholtz's companyand the Brunswick Oels Jäeger in 7th Division their task principally to occupy the left, most northerly part of Wellington's offensive line only moving forward when Hill's men to the far right have encouraged Soult to pull back his whole defensive array. This, for Brunswick Oels Jäeger is a painless affair, by 24th February they are in front of the Saison River close to where it falls into the Gave de Pau, it is mentioned that upon crossing the last named river at St' Dos some men are drowned when they mistake a part of that ice-cold crossing as being fordable. It is in the nature of things that Jäeger would be well to the fore here, so, officers being traditionally on horseback we can expect that a handful of the rank-and-file would receive a watery farewell hereaBrunswick Oels uts! Three days later the CIC accepts battle as a result of the enemy's decision to stand in defence of the large provincial centre of Orthez, for Brunswick Oels Jäeger  this will involve some serious fighting before the day is done. There is to be very little mention of their exploits in this series of attacks and counter-attacks however with some circumspection we can draw our own conclusions. Ross Brigade of 4th Division is sent in early, in fact, as the first full-on attack, Wackholtz's company although never mentioned throughout the whole day must have been part of the mix of skirmishers to lead in that advance up to the church at St' Boes and along the dips of ground to either side of this low ridge. Vasconcellos 7th Caçadores and the Light companies of the British 1/7th, 1/20th and 1/23rd make up this crowd of some 400+ light infantrymen. All to very little effect other than to let them see that this was going to be a long hard day. Their best efforts were beaten back by a combination of short range artillery crossfire and musketry all from an enemy well protected by the terrain features of their chosen ground. The hamlet of St' Boes was gradually reduced to rubble and the attack, after some two hours of punishment was called off. Things had not gone well elsewhere either so that Wellington was forced to bring up all of his reserves and this time in a fully concerted attack across the whole enemy front.

This involved amongst others the whole of 7th Division so, naturally enough the main Brunswick Oels dy of Brunswick Oels Jäeger would be brought into play. They do get a very brief mention as to being a part of a left flank initiative which did eventually succeed in forcing its immediate enemy to first retire and then as the whole French line began to crumble, turn retreat into rout. Not a pretty battle by any means, their opposite numbers fought hard and long before crying off in a mutual slaughter that lost purpose perhaps for Brunswick Oels th sides. It was impossible for the victors to catch their fleeing foes so they all subsided on the cold hard ground, built fires and counted the cost.  Through JA Hall we know that amongst the Brunswick Oels Jäeger officers hit this day Captains Ernst de Braxien, Lieutenant Ernst von Kosehenbar and Ensign Lewis Branders are all killed, the latter to die of his wounds just two days after the battle, Lieutenant Friderick Theile and Captain Charles Schônfeld are wounded as is one other un-named officer. Here we run into difficulty, we have figures but, only as a battalion and, presumably to include those of Ross Brigade with the rest in 7th Division, so with a little rationalising it is possible to say that Schônfeld was a part of the main Brunswick Oels dy in 7th Division and for the rest we can only conjecture:

27th February 1814 (after the battle of Orthez)

Brunswick Oels Jäeger 1 company Ross Brigade 4th Division                                                                                                     
PAB 38

Brunswick Oels Jäeger 9 companies Gardiner's Brigade 7th Division                                                                                                        
PAB 223

With impeccable timing Dalhousie returns to pick up command of 7th Division when the army is ready to move again against Soult, he is ordered to take his charges north by west to come up to Brunswick Oels rdeaux where word has confirmed that that provincial city is on the verge of deserting the Empire in favour of the White Cockade. For Gardiner's Brunswick Oels Jäeger there is a miserable march in constant cold rain but upon reaching their goal after perhaps just five days of travel the city opens its gates to what they see as an army of liberation. It is only 12th March 1814 but for these men the war is virtually over, they will on 6th April be a part perhaps of a small force sent to brush away a number of enemy infantrymen down the banks of the Gironde at Blaye.

At Etauliers these men will stand just long enough for 320 of them to be captured, such resistance as they were able to mount came to nothing and all returned to Brunswick Oels rdeaux in time to usher in the beginnings of a peace, which had evaded them for almost twenty years. Back at the armed camp at Mouserolles where we left the two companies of Brunswick Oels Jäeger in 5th Division their war is gradually sliding to a close so much so that not a word escapes to tell us how it would end for these men. Certainly it is a distinct possibility that the company with Hay's Brigade saw violent action in Thouvenot's last act sortie on 14th April 1814, if so it was done anonymously, no officers named as hit and nothing in the "histories". Thus we must close the war on their behalf and wish them well.

All we have left is that fighting company under Capt' Wackholtz in 4th Division, once again not a word mentioned, having halted at Langdon on the road to Brunswick Oels rdeaux the whole Division is turned about and marched off at speed in grim winter weather all the way to Toulouse. There they will, when the attacks are put in, march around the foot of Mount Rave, climb its flanks and spend the rest of the day sniping at the enemy to the west of the ridge.

So ends the war record of the Duke of Brunswick Oels Jäeger in the Peninsular War.

Very few of these men would take part in the fighting about Quatre Bras and Waterloo, only two of the officers injured during the whole of the earlier war are mentioned as a part of the Duke's new Brunswick forces, Lieutenant Brombson and the Adjutant Lieutenant Normann.

The rest, it seems would "rest-on-their-laurels".

 

Placed on the Napoleon Series: August 2011

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