Tuesday, August 20, 2013

The Royal Irish Prepares for America

Unfortunately, there are no extant muster rolls for the period prior to leaving Ireland (1765-1767) for North America , so much is unclear about the men of the Royal Irish Regiment. However, in order to expand from the Irish Establishment strength of 28 private men per company to the 45 private men per company, the regiments, including the Royal Irish, leaving Ireland needed to either recruit the difference or accept drafts (transfers) from other regiments. Most regiments sent out recruiting parties in Ireland and potentially to England or Scotland, but the most common and reliable way to expand the strength of a regiment in a short time was to draft from regiments that were to remain in Ireland. In late April and early May 1767, the Royal Irish, received 203 drafts from eight other regiments. In total, 794 men were drafted to the 10th, 16th, 18th and the 26th Regiments from 20 other regiments which were to remain in Ireland. The 10th, 16th, and 26th Regiments were ordered to America as part of a rotation of regiments along with the Royal Irish.
The most one of the other regiments gave were 50 men. Both the 58th and the 64th Regiments gave up 50 men. The 58th's all were received by the Royal Irish. Twenty-six of those men were Irish; the other 24 were British from the 58th Foot.
Court martial returns identify a few of the individual soldiers drafted, but the individual identities of the vast majority of the drafts cannot be identified. The 203 drafts to the Royal Irish came from the 5th Foot (48 men), the 40th Foot (3 men), the 44th Foot (3 men), the 49th Foot (2 men), the 50th Foot (49 men), the 58th Foot (50 men), one man from the 61st Foot and 47 men from the 69th Foot. The men of the 50th Foot were definitively drafted at Cork Harbor immediately before the Royal Irish embarked for America. Although mythology often states that the ranks of the red coated regiments were filled up with the  dregs of society being dragged out of prison, in fact, only three men were obtained from Irish Gaols. All three men were sent to the 10th Foot.