Military Subjects: Organization, Strategy & Tactics


1 January 1805

1 June 1805

Expeditionary Forces

Bibliography


State of the British Army in 1805

By Ron McGuigan & Robert Burnham, FINS

The British Army in 1805, had approximately 161,000 Regulars, which were backed by a 90,000 man militia force. On 1 January 1805, these forces included:

Cavalry

20,316

Artillery and Engineers

17,109

Infantry

124,531

Militia

89,809

Although on paper, this appears to be a fairly strong force, over one third of the regulars were deployed in garrisons in Europe, Africa, Asia, Australia, North America, and the West Indies. Furthermore, at any given time, 10 - 12,000 men were in transit between their home garrisons in the British Isles and their new posts or vice versa.

1 January 1805

Location

Strength

Mediterranean

Gibraltar

4,586 (512 Artillery & 4,074 Infantry)

Malta

6,490 (456 Artillery & 6,034 Infantry)

West Indies

Leeward Islands & On Passage

11,240 (726 Artillery 10,514 Infantry)

Jamaica

4,175 (340 Artillery & 3,835 Infantry

Bahamas

473 (39 Artillery & 434 Infantry)

North America

Canada

4,194 (412 Artillery & 3,782 Infantry)

Honduras

927 Infantry

East Indies

East Indies

15,818 (2,296 Cavalry & 13,522 Infantry)

Ceylon

6,724 (260 Artillery & 6,464 Infantry)

Australia

New South Wales

490 Infantry

Africa

Goree

344 Infantry

United Kingdom

Great Britain

57,678 (14,857 Cavalry, 4,708 Artillery, & 38,113 Infantry)

Channel Islands

8,408 (112 Artillery & 7,296 Infantry)

Militia in Great Britain

70,386

Ireland

34,087 (4,070 Cavalry, 968 Artillery, 29,049 Infantry)

Militia in Ireland

19,423

By the beginning of June there was a further increase in the number of troops deployed overseas, with another 6,000 soldiers going to various garrisons. This trend would continue for the rest of the Napoleonic wars, where eventually there would be more troops deployed overseas than at home.

1 June 1805

Location

Strength

Mediterranean

Gibraltar

3,318

Malta

6,680

West Indies

Leeward Islands

11,904

Jamaica

3,591

Bahamas

589

North America

Canada

1,519

Nova Scotia, etc.

2,367

East Indies

East Indies

11,998

Ceylon

6,870

United Kingdom

Great Britain

64,614

Ireland

29,236

Militia in Great Britain & Ireland

76,724

On Passage

12,442

Between 1 January and 1 July the total forces abroad increased from 51,034 to 61,485 men, exclusive of the artillerymen (3,248) and military artificers (259).

Expeditionary Forces

In July, Prime Minister Castlereagh instructed the Commander-in-Chief to form a disposable force of 30,000-50,000 infantry and 8,000-10,000 cavalry. They were to be stationed near Cork, Portsmouth, and East Kent. A fleet would always be available to move about 10,000 men in one lift.

Four expeditions were planned or sent out from England in 1805, one under Eyre Coote to the West Indies; a second under James Craig to Malta and Sicily; a third under David Baird to the Mediterranean and then subsequently to the Cape of Good Hope; and the fourth under Lord Cathcart to Hanover. The year 1806 saw numerous small actions by these forces: in January the British captured the Cape of Good Hope from the Dutch and then occupied Buenos Aires, Argentina five months later. In the Mediterranean, British forces from Sicily, attacked the Italian mainland and defeated the French forces under General Reynier at Maida, while another force landed in northern Germany.

Bibliography

British Sessional Papers House of Commons; 1805; Volume VIII.

Fortescue, John. The County Lieutenancies and the Army: 1803-1814 London : MacMillan; 1909.

Haythornthwaite, Philip J. The Napoleonic Sourcebook New York : Facts on File; 1990. 

 

Placed on the Napoleon Series: June 2000

 

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