Saturday, April 13, 2013

Comparing the Royal Irish to the 22nd Regiment of Foot

Don Hagist's excellent blog Redcoat76 includes an entry showing the impact of eight  years of American Service on the 22nd Regiment of Foot (1775-1783). I thought it would be an interesting exercise to compare those numbers to the same initial soldiers who arrived eight years earlier on 11 July 1767 at Philadelphia.

The 22nd Foot arrived with 416 sergeants, corporals, drummers and fifers in ten companies. As they arrived right after Bunker Hill, by the time they were dispatched, the Army was preparing for war and trying to move as many men to America as possible to put down the rebellion. However, the Royal Irish arrived as one of four regiments in 1767 as part of a normal rotation of troops. It ranks included 470 men divided into nine companies; 18 sergeants, 18 corporals, 9 drummers, 2 fifers and 45 men per company plus another 18 supernumary men (additional privates). The advantage of  being one of only four regiments rotated to America as opposed to being one of a dozen or more is clearly evident as the 18th arrived with extra men and the 22nd was 26 men short of its establishment upon arrival.

Four of the men in the 22nd became officers during the eight year period. Interestingly enough, from 1767 through December 1775, none of the men of the 18th would earn a commission, but four of the men who arrived with the 18th in July 1767 would earn commissions in the years 1777 through 1783. Wartime expansion most likely helped expand the number of vacancies available to the men of the 22nd Foot.

Fourteen of the men of the 22nd were killed in battle. Among the original men of the 18th, only four were killed; all grenadiers at the time of their deaths. John Knight was killed by Indians in Illinois. Russell died on the march from Concord and Flynn and Serles were killed on Breed's Hill. Grenadier Samuel Lee is occasionally listed as killed, but was in fact only wounded and taken prisoner.

Four men died as prisoners of war in the 22nd. None died that way in the 18th. Seven men of the 22nd were lost and didn't return from being prisoners of war. Only one man of the 18th was lost that way, Samuel Lee, listed above. He remained in the Concord area, married a woman and started a family.

Ninety-two of the men of the 22nd died in service via disease or accident. 106 of the men in 18th died in the eight years it served in America. At least another 22 died while still serving in other regiments after being drafted or while still in the 18th, but after returning to England.

As the 22nd served in America at the end of the war, it would seem likely for an army about to go on a peace establishment to discharge a larger portion of men. 176 of the men of the 22nd were discharged and received pensions. Another 22 received land grants in Nova Scotia.  Another 55 were discharged but there is no record of their receiving a pension or land grant. The 18th saw 118 men discharged. Most of whom were recommended to Chelsea Hospital. None are known to have received a land grant.

Thirty of the 22nd's soldiers deserted and neither returned or were captured. The desertion rate of the 18th was a bit higher with 66 men deserting and only 12 of those returning. Of those 12, either six or seven deserted again as a final act in their military record.

Two of the men of the 22nd were executed by the military. Three men of the 18th were so sentenced, but only Patrick Brannon was executed. The other two were pardoned in 1776 and transferred to the 4th (King's Own) Regiment of Foot.