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The Napoleon Series > Biographies > Biographies

A Letter to His Sister July 21 1804

A Letter to His Sister November 8, 1806

A Letter to His Mother January 29, 1810

More Letters from Lieutenant Thomas Higgins


Occasionally private papers of individuals who served in the Napoleonic Wars will be found. These papers often are passed down from generation to generation as a family heirloom and are destined to never be published. The Papers of Lieutenant Thomas Higgins were brought to our attention by Brian Forth. The following are additional letters written by him.

Lieutenant Higgins was in the 2nd Battalion of the 5th Foot and hence missed much of the 1st Battalion's overseas service. His letters mentions the 1st Battalion taking part in the expedition to Buenos Aires in 1806 and the Walcheran Expedition in 1809.

Editor's Note: In order to keep the flavor of the times, I did not change Lieutenant Higgins' spelling or punctuation.

A Letter to His Sister

Hailsham Barracks
July 21st 1804

Dear Catherine

I should have written sooner but waited to hear of my appointment in the Mariens which I expect every Day. We are to go to Camp next week at East Bourne where George Knipes Regt is; we are now within seven miles of the place The camp is to be situated on top of a very high hill called Beachy Head and we shall be obliged to send three miles for every drop of Water we use a worse place could never be chosen for the purpose I intend going to Brighton in a day or two to see if Dr Shaw is there it is very probable he may as the Races commence shortly. It must be very inconvienant for you all his being Absent at this time and having my Aunt Wood with you must make it more so I should think my Aunt Knipe could better afford to have her than my mother. Eliza makes a very long stay in the country which is much the better for her but I wonder she is not afraid as their is great talk of more disturbances and it is thought there will be another Rebellion; give my Duty to my mother and lover to my Aunt Wood and believe me

Your Affect. Brother

T. Higgins


1. The Mariens were probably the Marines.

2. George Knipe was an officer in the 11th Light Dragoons.

3. Lieutenant Higgins' family lived in Ireland. The disturbances and rebellion he is referring to is most likely by the Irish.

A Letter to His Sister

Boston Novr 8th 1806

Dear Catherine

I have at length left Spilsby after making several applications and much delay which prevented me from answering your letter sooner This is a very gay place there has been quite a bustle with the Election it is now over I am going to Dine this Day at one of their Publick Dinners.

I am sorry to hear such a bad account of Aleck Pattertern you did not say what was become of Tom. Do you ever see the Shaws I suppose Robt means to stand on Election this Time you must write and let me know all about it

The 1st Battalion of our Regt has Embarked for Service but to what place they are going is uncertain it is supposed for Buenos Ayres. I should like very much to go with them Tell you Swift that he cannot do Better than come into the 5th there are now three Vacancys in the Regt.

Give my love to my Mother Eliza Aunt Ye and believe me D Catherine

Your Affectionate

Tho Higgins


1. The 1st Battalion 5th Foot did join the disastrious expedition to Buenos Aires in 1806.

Letter to His Mother

Bexhill Jany 29th 1810

My Dear Mother

It gives me great pleasure to Inform you that my Dear Sarah was last night at 9 O Clock safely Delivered of a remarkable fine Boy and that She is doing Extremely Well! I have so much to do at present that I have not time to say more but She Shall write to you herself as Soon as she is able of Course you Know that the Regimt is Come home and that the men are recovering very fast In about a Couple of Months we Shall be ready for another Expedition.

Give my love to Elixa and Cahtering and to (indecipherable) and believe me Dear Mother your very Dutiful Son

Tho Higgins

God Save the King and the Old Fifth


1. The 1st Battalion 5th Foot was part of the ill-fated Walcheran Expedition of 1809.
2. It is announcing the birth of his first son named Thomas Walker Higgins after himself. Thomas (junior) joined the 2nd Royal North British Dragoons (Scots Greys) in 1831, served to the rank of Sergeant and purchased his discharge in 1839 from Newbury Barracks in Dublin. He married Jane Watson, then sailed to South Australia.  He purchased land near Currency Creek and Goolwa, raised cattle, became lieutenant colonel of the South Australian Volunteer Cavalry from 1861 to 1869 and died in Adelaide in 1899.  


Placed on the Napoleon Series: July 2001