Research Subjects: Biographies

Lieutenant William Hamilton, 95th Foot

By Colin Hamilton

The eldest son, William Hamilton was b. at Eden, Co. Donegal, 17th March 1788; at the age of 16 he became an ensign in the 42 Highlanders (Black Watch), and while serving with his regiment at Gibraltar distinguished himself.  In 1809 he took part in the campaign in the Peninsula under Sir John Moore, and was in the retreat which terminated in the Battle of Corunna, where he was wounded. In the autumn of that year he took part in the unfortunate Walcheren Expedition where, like many others, he suffered from fever, and retired. However, shortly afterwards he rejoined the service as a "volunteer" with the 95th Rifles, and in 1811 joined the 1st Batt., then advancing from the lines of Torres Vedras. He took part in the storming of the Ciudad Rodrigo, where he was severely wounded, and in the siege of Badajos.  He served through the campaigns of 1811, 1812, and 1813, and was present at the Battles of Salamanca, Vittoria, and the Pyrenees.  At the storming of San Sebastion the first man up the ladder carried by the Forlorn Hope men of the 1st Batt., was Lieut. Percival, who was in command and who was desperately wounded.  Hamilton, who was second, on gaining the top received a bullet under the eye and fell back into the ditch where he lay a long time.  Although his wound was considered to be mortal, he recovered, but lost his palate, he was obliged in 1813 to retire finally from the service, because he could not "give the command."  (This account is taken, in a much curtailed form, from the Rifle Brigade "Calendar" for 1894, compiled by Major Willoughby Verner of that regiment.)


Placed on the Napoleon Series: April 2011

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