The War of 1812 Magazine

Issue 10: October 2008



Anatomy of Atrocity: Crimes of the Independent Companies of Foreigners in North America, 1813.

By Gareth A. Newfield

The crimes and atrocities perpetrated by the Independent Companies of Foreigners employed by Britain are amongst the most shocking committed by either side during the War of 1812.  Vilified as an “appalling collection of ex-French prisoners,” they represented the worst variety of mercenaries utilized by Britain during the period.[1]  Recruited from unruly deserters from French forces in the Iberian Peninsula and poorly led, the Foreigners were undependable soldiers.  Nevertheless, when employed on operations against the United States which exacerbated their fractiousness, the Foreigners exploded into indiscipline and violence, culminating in outrageous behaviour at Hampton, Virginia.  This article examines their character, the decisions and chain of events that led to their notorious misconduct.

When the United States declared war on Great Britain in June 1812, the British Army was forced to wage both a major war in Europe and a secondary conflict across the Atlantic, thereby creating an acute shortage of personnel.  At the same time, the future Duke of Wellington’s victorious campaigns in the Peninsular War had placed thousands of French and French-allied soldiers in British custody.  Rather than siphon troops from Great Britain or the Iberian Peninsula, the British Government undertook to form hundreds of them into independent companies intended to garrison posts threatened by the American War, deemed “the best means of applying these people to the public service in the most eligible manner.”[2]  Of the four companies ultimately raised by 1814, only the first two were deployed overseas to North America.

As a body, the Foreigners were generally made up of unpromising materiel, an assertion based upon their being predominantly deserters and prisoners from enemy forces gathered by British troops in the Peninsula.  In fact, of 862 men enlisted into the companies between 1812 and 1814, approximately 89 percent were drawn directly from this source.[3]  Therein, the experiences of French forces in the Peninsula had a significant impact on the psychology of these soldiers.

Since 1807, French forces in the Iberian Peninsula had been involved in a vicious war against Portuguese & Spanish partisans.  This conflict stemmed from Napoleon’s attempt to extend the scope of his economic campaign against British commercial interests on the European continent (the “Continental System”) by invading Portugal through France’s reluctant ally, Spain.  Accustomed to living off the land, French troops soon committed atrocities despite initially being welcomed by the Spanish.  Looting was widely practiced from Marshal to private soldier, churches were desecrated, villages burned, and women violated or put to forced prostitution in French camps.[4]  In response, the Iberian peoples (whose lacklustre regular military forces had largely been defeated or dispersed with comparative ease by the French) took up a spontaneous guerrilla resistance, drawing inspiration from “the most profound and powerful feelings, both patriotic and religious, of a people convinced that their vocation and historic mission was to rid their native land of the infidel.”[5] 

Fighting between guerrillas and French troops therefore quickly developed into an incessant cycle of atrocities and reprisals.  The guerrillas, imbued with implacable hatred, delighted in inflicting elaborate torture upon their captives.  In one episode typical of a myriad of encounters, 20 French soldiers and a female sutler were captured by partisans; the woman was roasted, mutilated and left to die of exposure, while the soldiers were buried to their necks and used as pins for a festive bowling match.[6]  Even when quarter was granted, prospects for Frenchmen were nonetheless still grim.  Many were imprisoned on the island of Cabrera, where the Spaniards’ scant resources and apathy reduced them to squalor and starvation, or were left to rot aboard prison hulks in Cadiz harbour.[7]  In return, French forces engaged in prohibitive or punitive operations of comparable scope and ferocity, which served only stoked tensions further.  In order to guarantee the safety of his troops one French general took civilians as hostages and executed dozens for every Frenchman killed, only to be met by promises of reciprocal executions of captured French personnel by local guerrilla leaders.[8]  Barbarity, coupled with constant threats of a grisly end thus defined the French Army’s operations in the Peninsula. 

Whereas the post-traumatic stresses which occur under these conditions are broadly recognized within the medical community today, Napoleonic armies were largely unaware of the psychological and behavioural impact of such vicious warfare upon their troops.  Indeed, a century later, military understanding of mental anguish as a result of participation in combat operations was still rudimentary or altogether dismissive.[9]  It was not until the early twentieth century when the first theories concerning causality such as the influence of nervous tension were identified by European psychologists, and therein symptoms such as aberrant behaviour had yet to be linked psychological trauma in 1813.[10]  Within this context, it is perhaps easy to understand how British officials were unperceptive or complacent towards any impact their experiences in the Peninsular War had upon recruits for the Independent Companies.  Still, signs that many were deeply affected were evident at the time, evinced by common French graffiti scrawled on walls throughout Spain and Portugal, sardonically describing the war “General’s fortune, Officer’s ruin, Soldier’s death.”[11] 

A second consideration is their individual character.  Napoleon’s army was conscripted; hundreds of disillusioned soldiers sought escape by desertion to the enemy, a source which British military authorities relied upon heavily in order to form the Independent Companies.[12]  While many of these men were motivated by hardship, their numbers usually included a proportion of professional deserters who continually leapfrogged between armies in search of personal gain.  Indeed, soldiers of the Chasseurs Britanniques, a regiment which received its recruits from exactly the same source of personnel absconded with such frequent regularity in Spain that Wellington forbade them to perform outpost duties.[13]  Even if they did not immediately decamp after enlisting with the British forces, enemy personnel, even deserters were seldom highly motivated.  When recruiting captured personnel from the French-allied German states, the British were forced to extend exceptionally generous enlistment bounties solely to give them “an interest in the Military Service of Great Britain, which they might not otherwise feel.”[14]  As a result, the Foreigners were inherently untrustworthy.

Logic would dictate that such a motley collection of soldiery required firm leadership, yet this was not provided to the Independent Companies.  In order to render the Foreigners malleable, the British Government placed them under the command of “their own countrymen” rather than British officers, appointing commissioned personnel from those “who have come over from the enemy.”[15]  This had an immediately deleterious effect upon the companies; as deserters themselves, the officers proved to be no more reliable, and were unable to exert their authority over their unruly subordinates.  Indeed, Colonel Sir Sidney Beckwith (the military commander of Chesapeake Bay expedition) was particularly critical regarding the officers of the 2nd Company while remarking upon this dynamic: “the Officers seem to know nothing of their Men; & speak ill of them – the Men on their side hint … that the Officers have made away with their pay.”[16]  This dysfunctional relationship was later cited as one of several excuses for the Foreigners’ unrestrained conduct at Hampton.[17] 

As a result of these factors, the Independent Companies were essentially an accident waiting to happen.  Having learned to soldier amid a brutal war of revenge and atrocity, they had become “troublemakers from the outset,” but at the same time were not given officers who were able to keep their potential indiscipline in check through strong leadership and personal example.[18]  Yet regardless of these shortcomings, British authorities undertook to deploy them against the Americans, employing the companies on operations and in locations which tested the restraint of steadier troops.

Notwithstanding their potential unruliness, the Foreigners behaved comparatively well until they were dispatched overseas to the theatre of the American war.  On 28 January 1813 the 1st Company was dispatched to garrison Bermuda, while the 2nd Company followed upon completion.  This assignment immediately led to the beginning of indiscipline among the foreign troops as a result of misconceptions over geography. Despite its Atlantic location and healthier climate, Bermuda was erroneously associated in the popular mind of the period with the fever-ravaged islands of the West Indies.  Between 1793 and 1815, 70 percent of all British soldiers sent to the Caribbean died from tropical diseases.[19]  Due to persistent mortality among European troops in the region throughout the 1790s, Britain adopted a policy of garrisoning its Caribbean colonies whenever possible with expendable foreign mercenaries and regiments of acclimatised Black slaves.  For their part, the French experienced similar problems, and adopted comparable policies.  For example, in 1802 Napoleon sought to reclaim French colonies in the Caribbean lost during the Revolution by suppressing the local slave populations that had gained control of the islands in the ensuing power vacuum.  The troops dispatched from France for this expedition were considered altogether disposable, comprised of the dregs of the French Army and a motley assortment of foreign regiments (mostly Poles).  Yet before they achieved their objectives most, including the majority of the principal force of 35,000 men sent to the island of Saint-Domingue (modern Haiti) died of disease.[20]  French troops were therefore as equally cognizant of the reputation of the Caribbean as the graveyard of European troops as were their British counterparts.

The raid on Hampton, Virginia, 26 June 1813
(From Benson J. Lossing’s Pictorial Field Book of the War of 1812).

For the Independent Companies, service in Bermuda thus represented a case (albeit a misinformed one) of passing from the frying pan into the fire.  Shortly after their arrival the 1st Company began to rebel and discontent amongst the 2nd Company was reported while en route.[21]  In turn, British authorities attempted to calm them by ensuring “every attention” was paid to their comfort and pay, which in circumventing their primary grievance was largely ineffectual, thereby leading to further indiscipline.[22]  Matters came to a head in March 1813 when the 1st Company, forced to witness a colleague’s punishment mutinied on parade, leading to additional floggings and the execution of the instigators.[23]

Under the circumstances British commanders at Bermuda were fully aware of the geographic basis of the Foreigners’ discontent, and sought increasingly inventive ways to bring them under control.  Having become acquainted with the 2nd Company during the voyage to Bermuda, Colonel Beckwith proposed renaming them “Canadian Chasseurs,” believing the prospect of service in the healthier Canadian colonies would mollify them, and expressed this rationale to Lord Bathurst, Secretary of State for War and the Colonies:

I am indeed persuaded, if they are not made to believe, they shall not return to this Island, or indeed any other Island in the West Indies, not a man of them, who may be landed on the Continent of America will ever re-embark.  But I am equally persuaded, if I am permitted to style them the Canadian Independent Companies, or give them any other Canadian appellation, they will keep together.[24]

Although entirely without authorisation to do so, Beckwith continued to utilise the “Canadian” designation for the duration of their service under his command in North America in order to keep up the pretext.  For their part, the Foreigners regarded such gratuitous attempts to secure their obedience with scepticism; at least 25 were entirely unconvinced, and deserted at the first opportunity when finally deployed in Chesapeake Bay against the Americans several months later.[25]

While the indiscipline of the 1st Company at Bermuda worsened, orders arrived from London along with the 2nd Company in May 1813 for the Foreigners to embark to join the British expeditionary forces operating around the Chesapeake Bay region of the American coast.  Rather than embodying a decisive campaign in its own right, the amphibious raids along the eastern seaboard of the United States launched during the spring and summer of 1813 were a diversionary component of the naval blockade strangling United States’ economy, intended to ease pressure on the Canadian colonies by distracting the focus of the American military farther south.  As a secondary campaign, it was a service upon which few of the Brightest and best were sent.  Many of the units scraped together to form the “Flying Corps” under the command of Colonel Beckwith were excessively raw, including the 102nd Regiment and two battalions of Royal Marines, who were repeatedly noted as inexperienced, skittish and prone to desertion.[26]  Nevertheless, Beckwith was apprehensive of using the even less disciplined Foreigners to augment his force; not only did he did not “think it prudent to put both Companies of Foreigners together,” he was sceptical of their reliability in combat, noting there was an onus for them to “prove steady beyond [his] expectations.”[27]  Nonetheless, with only 2,000 British soldiers at his disposal at Bermuda, the need for more troops won out, and the 300 Foreigners were included by Beckwith as a necessary evil.  His decision to deploy the Foreigners in spite of his own personal misgivings was to prove pivotal.

The theatre into which the Foreigners were to be immersed had grown increasingly savage over the spring of 1813.  In pursuance of orders issued by Vice-Admiral Sir John Warren, British naval Commander in Chief of North America, Rear-Admiral George Cockburn (a man with a personal dislike of Americans) had launched a series of vicious raids along the American coastline between April and June.  In return for the American forces having turned every house, tree and haystack into a “place of arms” to “get a mischievous shot” at British personnel, Cockburn followed a policy of brutal reprisal under which any settlements offering resistance were put to the torch, most notably Havre de Grace, Maryland on 3 May 1813.[28]  Consequently eye-for-an-eye warfare - a philosophy with which the Foreigners were amply familiar from their service in Spain – had become de rigueur in the region as a result of Cockburn’s operations well before the two Independent Companies set foot on American soil. 

In early June Admiral Warren ordered Cockburn to attack the port of Norfolk, Virginia which had long sheltered the American heavy frigate USS Constellation.  Not only was this expedition tasked with “the destruction of the Naval Yards and Public Stores of provisions,” Warren hoped to spread further disorder in the region by creating “an alarm among the White population for the insurrection of the Slaves….”[29]  Having arrived on 19 June, Beckwith’s force from Bermuda was placed under Cockburn, and afforded him the strength to carry out the plan.  To commence the operation, Cockburn resolved to attack Craney’s Island, a strategic position mounting a battery of guns that protected the seaward approaches to Norfolk.  Included among the landing force were the two Independent Companies.  The results of this strike were to fan the Foreigners’ potential for indiscipline and wanton violence, and had dire implications for later operations at the nearby village of Hampton.

In the early hours of 22 June an entire platoon of Foreigners landed to conduct a reconnaissance of Craney’s Island deserted to the enemy, suggesting the Frenchmen were not initially ill-disposed towards the Americans.  Shortly thereafter, however, the main landing force transported by ships’ boats made a direct assault upon the island’s batteries.  Unbeknownst to the attackers the landing beach was screened by a shallow shoal that had been missed during a survey of the approach, and now proved impassable to the British craft containing the remainder of the Independent Companies, which grounded seventy yards short of the beach.[30]  Unable to advance further and subjected to heavy fire from the American guns on the island, Warren ordered the boats to retreat.  During the ensuing withdrawal, three of the Foreigners’ boats were holed by American fire and partly sunk, stranding many of the Frenchmen.[31]  Meanwhile, the Americans directed a continuous fusillade of artillery and musketry upon them. 

At this point sailors from the USS Constellation were ordered to wade into the water to capture the boats and accept the surrender of the stranded Foreigners.  Their leader, one Midshipman Tatnall recalled the event:

We waded out to the Centipede [a British barge], and found a Frenchman in her with both legs shot off.  Several others were in her, wounded in the legs and feet by the passage of the ball.  We carried the Frenchman ashore in a Hammock, and he died soon afterward.[32]

In contrast to Tatnall’s humanitarian recollections, observations of British witnesses, including Lieutenant-Colonel Napier of the 102nd Regiment differed considerably.  Napier and several British officers were thoroughly convinced that Tatnall’s men had mercilessly attacked the boats to exact revenge for the British raids on the coast: “One boat with thirty of the foreigners stranded with a shot through her, and the Americans, wading to it, deliberately massacred the poor men!”[33]  Whether the ensuing “massacre” occurred is ultimately debateable.  The British allegations led immediately to an American enquiry, which while not denying the firing upon the boats, conveniently noted that the stranded Frenchmen were not deliberately targeted, and found only one was shot while attempting to escape.[34]  Certainly, the Americans did take 22 survivors prisoner.[35]  However, in light of the vindictive tone of the campaign, the opportunistic humanity of Tatnall’s men seems somewhat aggrandized. 

The British assault on Craney’s Island, Virginia, 22 June 1813
(From Benson J. Lossing’s Pictorial Field Book of the War of 1812).

Irrespective of veracity, however, rumours of the atrocity quickly circulated throughout Beckwith’s small command, with predictable effects.  Napier recalled that news of the alleged slaughter of their comrades during the assault was seen as unnecessarily cold-blooded, and was taken particularly badly the 102nd and Foreigners, the two units involved in the landing.[36]  With respect to the Frenchmen the implication of the engagement, given the Frenchmen’s past experiences, should have been apparent.  Indeed Beckwith, who had earlier voiced concerns over the Foreigners’ conduct, was a veteran of Spain well versed in the predisposition of French troops towards reprisals.  Yet somehow he and the other British commanders remained oblivious to the French troops’ simmering unrest and desire for revenge.  Instead, having failed to silence Craney’s Island, Cockburn and Beckwith decided to use them to attack an American camp on the north bank of the James River guarding the town of Hampton. 

On the night of 25/26 June Beckwith’s troops landed ashore two and a half miles west of Hampton.  Confronted by 400 local militiamen gathered to oppose the landing, a fierce but brief fight ensued before the militia were dispersed and fled through a nearby wood.  Despite Beckwith’s description of the conduct of the “Canadian Chasseurs” in the action as “highly conspicuous and praiseworthy,” trouble began at this point.[37]  Having captured an American officer, several of the Foreigners undertook to relieve him of his valuable epaulettes before murdering him, while another prisoner was robbed, and after being falsely assured of his safety, subsequently executed in a cold, deliberate manner.[38]  Such vindictive and brutal behaviour by French troops was not altogether unheard of after vicious fighting;  for example, at the Battle of Waterloo Lieutenant Edmund Wheatley of the King’s German Legion recalled witnessing similar conduct following his own capture, and narrowly avoided execution after his valuables were taken.[39]  This was, however, but a glimpse at what was to come.

Following closely on the heels of the American Militia, British troops quickly moved into Hampton (whose inhabitants had mostly fled) to establish a base to observe Norfolk.  Immediately upon arrival the Foreigners, enraged by the militia’s resistance and mindful of the assault two days before proceeded to treat the town like a Spanish village.  “Dispersing to plunder in every direction,” according to Napier, they inflicted “brutal treatment [upon] several peaceable Inhabitants whose age or infirmities rendered them unable to get out of their way.”[40]  Therein, the Frenchmen committed “every horror … with impunity, rape, murder and pillage….”[41]  To be fair, they were not entirely alone in these endeavours; naval boat crews also indulged somewhat in pillaging, and even Napier admitted his own men chafed to be allowed to participate.[42]  Still, the Frenchmen acted with singular malice and brutality, Colonel Napier believing they “murdered without an object but the pleasure of murdering,” and their slaughter of “an old bedridden Man, and his Aged Wife,” which Beckwith found to be “but too true” upon investigation, became especially infamous.[43]  Those attempting to stem the Foreigners’ rampage were threatened with violence.  Unable to discipline his men, Captain Smith of the 1st Company (a foreigner, despite his name) labelled them “a desperate banditti, whom it is impossible to control”[44] 

Following the sack of Hampton, the Foreigners were reigned in sufficiently to allow Beckwith to deploy them on outpost duties while British troops occupied Hampton.  Thus dispersed, marauding continued to occur, and desertions began afresh.  Most notable was the desertion of the 1st Company’s quartermaster-sergeant, who decamped to the enemy at this point after surreptitiously robbing his officers.[45]  Only after three days, when the extent of their crimes became apparent were the companies were herded back aboard their ships.  Under the impression they would be returned to the dreaded West Indies, the Foreigners remained hostile.  Beckwith reported to Warren “their conduct has been uniformly the same … they have set their own officers at defiance, and … have not hesitated to say, that when next landed, they would choose a Service for themselves.[46]

In the aftermath, accusations of responsibility circulated among the senior British officers.  Brigadier-General Taylor, the local American commander protested vociferously to Warren immediately after the raid, but was instead rebuffed by a reply from Beckwith insinuating blame lay upon the Americans’ “infringement of the established usages of war” at Craney’s Island.[47]  Conversely, Napier railed against Beckwith, complaining “several villains at Little Hampton” should have been hung as examples and that due to Beckwith’s vacillation “not a man was punished!”[48]  Modern scholars have alleged that this inaction stemmed from a callous outlook towards the brutality of war engendered in Spain and fostered under the context of Cockburn’s vindictive policies in the theatre.[49]  For his part, Beckwith confessed to being slow to learn about the atrocities, by which time little could be done to intervene or punish individuals, an explanation which was accepted with little question by his superiors.[50] 

Ultimately the British acknowledged the consequences of their mismanagement of the Foreigners only after the sack of Hampton.  Rather Belatedly Beckwith was forced to admit, in spite of his earlier misgivings, that “they could not be employed with safety” in the region without the occurrence of further outrages.[51]  Admiral Warren concurred, and therefore ordered the Independent Companies removed from his command.  Demonstrating hitherto unseen forethought, he sent them to Halifax instead of to the Caribbean, albeit with the caveat that Lieutenant-General Sir John Sherbrooke, the Lieutenant-Governor of Nova Scotia might wish to return the Foreigners to England if he deemed it necessary.[52] 

Reassignment to Nova Scotia, however, did not initially ease the Independent Companies’ indiscipline.  Sherbrooke was tremendously hostile towards receiving them, and begged Sir George Prevost, the Governor-General to dispose of them, complaining that amid the shortage of troops in the colony “men such as them [sic] are described to be can lend only to increase my embarrassment….”[53]  Gone too was the prospect of transfer to Canada.  In a private letter to Sir George, Sherbrooke surmised that on the basis that “Mutinous French Deserters like these might contaminate your [French] Canadians” Prevost would presumably not want them, and therefore resigned himself to bringing the Frenchmen “back to a state of subordination” if at all possible.[54] 

Upon arrival at Halifax the Foreigners were kept aboard their transports while Sherbrooke considered how best to dispose of them.  Thus confined, discontent among the 1st Company flared once more as a result of the disappearance of their pay for the period of their service in Chesapeake Bay.  Before leaving Bermuda, Beckwith tried to ensure their pay would be regularly provided for during the complicated operations by disbursing the funds to the officers directly, rather than relying upon the services of the paymaster of any regiment stationed alongside the Foreigners, as had been intended when the companies were first formed.[55]  Yet according to the 1st Company’s junior officers, Captain Smith had secretly appropriated the funds and spent them “in a most extravagant Manner” before leaving Bermuda.[56]  Antagonism between the officers on this account and resulting shortage of funds soured the atmosphere within the companies, leading to further misconduct.  Sherbrooke reported that when finally disembarked on 20 July, the Foreigners alarmed the populace with their wanton misbehaviour and indulged in larceny: “notwithstanding the precautions which I had directed the Commander to take, some of the Scoundrels broke open a house in Dutch Town the same night, and tho [sic] one of them was taken … I much fear they will not be able to prosecute him to Conviction.[57]  While Smith’s guilt was later confirmed (having been convicted by court martial and dismissed from service in February 1814), authorities at Halifax urged that the deficiency be rectified to calm the Foreigners once more.[58]

 Interestingly, the Foreigners’ behaviour improved once comfortably housed, properly paid and subjected to proper discipline, indicating that they could in fact behave tolerably under better circumstances.  In July Major-General Thomas Saumarez inspected the companies; despite lamenting their deficiencies at the intricacies of British (as opposed to French) drill, he believed they would amount to a “useful Body of Men” given enough time and instruction.[59]  More importantly, he commented favourably on their appearance and conduct in quarters.[60]  Private Benjamin Harris of the 95th Rifles recorded similar testimony.  Stationed in garrison alongside the 3rd and 4th Independent Companies which had remained in Britain, Harris recalled that when well managed, they were “smart-looking fellows” capable of forming amicable relations with British troops, although they were admittedly still prone to desertion and vehement opposition to British military discipline.[61]  Nonetheless, the improvements of the two companies in Nova Scotia failed to surpass their previous misdeeds in the opinions of Generals Prevost and Sherbrooke, and they were summarily returned to England in September.  The end of the Independent Companies was as ignominious as had been much of their service.  Following Napoleon’s abdication and the restoration of the Bourbon Monarchy in France in the spring of 1814, the four companies, then garrisoned in southern England were unceremoniously disbanded and repatriated, being greeted, according to Harris, with scorn and contempt by their countrymen.

Although justly vilified for their misdeeds in North America, recent scholarship has attempted to humanize the Foreigners by placing their actions in context and dispelling notions of unmitigated irascibility which have permeated references to their existence and service during the War of 1812.  The chief shortcoming of these efforts, however, has been the failure to fully connect the psychological and causal chain of events that led to their crimes at Hampton and elsewhere.  Factors, such as their presumed psychological conditioning from service in the Peninsular War, although acknowledged, are often dismissed as incidental or anecdotal, rather than seminal.[62]  Simply put, the Independent Companies were damaged goods, foolhardily employed in the worst possible theatre for troops of their nature and composition.  That they reverted to modes of behaviour learned in a similar conflict should therefore not be viewed as atypical or surprising.  Ultimately, the key factor was perhaps leadership; the 7/60th Regiment (also recruited from foreign prisoners & deserters from Spain) was better officered, not dispatched to a deadly climate or a vindictive war, and saw subsequently saw exemplary service during the British occupation of Maine in 1814.[63]  It was therefore this unfortunate combination of men, leadership and volatile circumstances, rather than the Foreigners’ own unruliness alone that culminated in the repetition of the crimes of the Peninsular War on North American soil.

Gareth Newfield is a Research Fellow at the Canadian War Museum in Ottawa, Canada.


[1] P. Haythornthwaite, Wellington’s Military Machine Tunbridge Wells, 1989, p. 82.

[2] A.J.Nichols, “Desperate Banditti”? The Independent Companies of Foreigners, 1812-14, Journal for the Society of Army Historical Research 79 (Winter, 2001), pp. 278-94.

[3] Ibid., p. 292.

[4] G. Blond, La Grande Armée London, 1997, p. 266.

[5] Ibid, p. 267.

[6] Ibid, p. 269.

[7] D. Smith, Prisoners of Cabrera: Napoleon’s Forgotten Soldiers 1809 – 1814 Toronto, 2001, pp. 65, 99-100.

[8] Blond, La Grande Armée, p. 267.

[9] P. Leese, Shell Shock: Traumatic Neurosis and the British Soldier of the First World War  New York, 2002, p. 2.

[10] Ibid.

[11] Blond, La Grande Armée, p. 263.

[12] Nichols, “Desperate Banditti,” pp. 278-9.

[13] Haythornthwaite, Wellington’s Military Machine, p. 83.

[14] Duke of York to Bathurst, London, 2 August 1813, National Archives, WO 1/656, pp. 151-2.

[15] Beckwith to Prevost, HMS San Domingo, 5 July 1813, Library and Archives Canada, RG 8 I, vol. 679, pp. 192-4, also Nichols, “Desperate Banditt,” p. 278.

[16] J.M. Hitsman & A. Sorby, “Independent Foreigners or Canadian Chasseurs,” Military Affairs 25, No. 1 (Spring, 1961), p. 13.

[17] Beckwith to Prevost, HMS San Domingo, 5 July 1813, ibid, p. 192.

[18] J.M. Hitsman (D. Graves ed.), The Incredible War of 1812  Toronto, 1999, p. 159.

[19] R.N. Buckley, Slaves in Red Coats: The British West India Regiments 1793 – 1815 London, 1979, p. 99.

[20] R. Chartrand, Napoleon’s Overseas Army London, 1996, pp. 16-9.

[21] Beckwith to Warren, HMS San Domingo, 5 July 1813, LAC, RG 8 I, vol. 679, pp. 189-91, also Hitsman & Sorby, “Independent Foreigners,” ibid.

[22] Beckwith to Sherbrooke, Hampton Roads, 5 July 1813, Library and Archives Canada, RG 8 I, vol. 30, p. 145.

[23] Beckwith to Warren, HMS San Domingo, 5 July 1813, ibid.

[24] Beckwith to Bathurst, Bermuda, 3 June 1813, National Archives, London, CO 42/153.

[25] Nichols, p. 282.

[26] Warren to Croker, Kent Island, 14 August 1813, LAC, ADM 1/504, p. 59, also Beckwith to Warren, Kent Island, 13 August 1813, Library and Archives Canada, ADM 1/504, pp. 60-1.

[27] Hitsman & Sorby, “Independent Foreigners,” p.14.

[28] J. Latimer, 1812: War with America London, 2008, pp. 160-1.

[29] Warren to Croker, Bermuda, 21 February 1813, Library and Archives Canada, ADM 1/503, pp. 146-152. 

[30] Warren to Croker, Hampton Roads, 24 June 1813, Library and Archives Canada, ADM 1/503, pp. 453-3.

[31] W.L. Clowes, The Royal Navy: A History from the Earliest Times to the Present New York, 1966 vol. VI, p. 93.

[32] B. Lossing, The Pictorial Field-Book of the War of 1812 Glendale, 1970, p. 680.

[33] W.Napier, The Life and Opinions of General Sir Charles James Napier, KCB etc. London, 1857, vol. I, p. 213.

[34] Lossing, The Pictorial Field Book, p. 684.

[35] J.R. Elting, Amateurs, to Arms! A Military History of the War of 1812 (New York, 1995), p. 80. Also Napier, Life and Opinions, p. 214.

[36] Napier, Life and Opinions, p. 214.

[37] Beckwith to Warren, Hampton Roads, 27 June 1813, LAC, ADM 1/503, p. 477.

[38] Napier, Life and Opinions, p. 224.

[39] C. Hibbert, The Wheatley Diary: A Journal and Sketch-Book Kept during the Peninsular War and Waterloo Campaign (London, 1964), pp. 71-8.

[40] Beckwith to Warren, HMS San Domingo, 5 July 1813, ibid.

[41] Napier, Life and Opinions, p. 220.

[42] Ibid., p. 222.

[43] Ibid., p. 224; Hitsman & Sorby, “Independent Foreigners”, p. 15; Beckwith to Warren, Hampton Roads, 5 July 1813, LAC, CO 42/151, p. 11-17.

[44] Beckwith to Warren, HMS San Domingo, 5 July 1813, ibid., p. 190.

[45] Nichols, Desperate Banditti, p. 284.

[46] Beckwith to Warren, Hampton Roads, 5 July 1813, LAC, ADM 1/504, p. 57.

[47] Histman & Sorby, “Independent Foreigners,” p. 16.

[48] Napier, Life and Opinions, p. 220.

[49] For example, see Hitsman & Sorby, “Independent Foreigners,” p. 15.

[50] Beckwith to Sherbrooke, Hampton Roads, 5 July 1813, ibid., p. 144.

[51] Beckwith to Sherbrooke, Hampton Roads, 5 July 1813, ibid., pp. 144-5.

[52] Warren to Sherbrooke, Hampton Roads, 5 July 1813, LAC, RG 8 I, vol. 30, p. 147.

[53] Sherbrooke to Prevost, Halifax, 13 July 1813 (1), LAC, RG 8 I, vol. 30, pp. 148-9.

[54] Sherbrooke to Prevost, Halifax, 13 July 1813 (2), LAC, RG 8 I, vol. 30, pp. 150-3.

[55] Beckwith to Prevost, HMS San Domingo, 5 July 1813,ibid, p. 192.

[56] Beckwith to Sherbrooke, Hampton Roads, 5 July 1813, ibid, also Nichols, “Desperate Banditti,” p. 286.

[57] Sherbrooke to Prevost, Halifax, 20 July 1813, LAC, RG 8 I, vol. 30, pp. 154-8.

[58] Ibid., p. 286.

[59] Ibid., p. 285.

[60] Ibid.

[61] H. Curling, Recollections of Rifleman Harris (London, 1985), pp. 125-6.

[62] Nichols, “Desperate Banditti,” pp. 292-3.

[63] G. Auchinleck, A History of the War Between Great Britain and the United States of America, during the Years 1812, 1813 and 1814 (Toronto, 1855), p. 353.