Monday, January 19, 2015

Joseph Fordice, an American who marched to Concord with the Regulars

Grenadier Joseph Fordice (also Fordue) was first listed as enlisted 9 March 1773 on the 27 July 1773 return of the Grenadier Company at Philadelphia.  He appears to have been born in the colonies at Roxbury, Massachusetts and was between 26 and 30 years old when he enlisted. His trade was that of a carpenter. He may have had some previous service as he was  the only new enlistee assigned to the Grenadier Company on that return. He remained with the Grenadier Coy at Philadelphia in the North Barracks until October 1774 when the Grenadier Coy was sent to Boston. He was Court Martialled on 8 November 1774 for sleeping on his post and sentenced to 400 lashes which were all remitted. There is no other record of his being disciplined during his military career; so he may have learned his lesson and the remission of his punishment by his superiors appears to have been a wise decision. 
As a member of the Grenadier Coy, Fordice was with Colonel Smith's column that marched through Lexington to Concord. Most likely, he was involved in searching the town of Concord for munitions. He also participated in the assault on Bunker Hill and escaped any significant injury in that battle. He was listed as on duty on 7 October 1775 while the Grenadier Coy was encamped on Charles Town Heights outside of Boston, near where the assaults on Bunker Hill had taken place. 
Fordice was promoted to corporal on 25 December 1775 and remained with the grenadiers. He was listed with the Grenadier Coy throughout his career, which was somewhat uncommon and may allude to his having been a rather tall man. He returned to England in February 1776 and was promoted to sergeant on 16 November 1777. He was reduced to private on 25 December 1778. He was at Warley Camp on 19 July 1779 as part of the large training exercised that summer. He was promoted to corporal on 13 April 1780. He was most likely in London along with the rest of the Royal Irish at the end of the Gordon Riots from late June through the early fall of 1780and was at Finchley in October 1780. He was reduced to private between June and December 1781. He was listed as a private in the Grenadier Coy in July 1784 but not in the February 1784 or December 1784 returns.  He appears to have been discharged in late 1789 and appeared before the Invalid Examination Board on 4 December 1789. His reason for discharge after 19 years of service with the Royal Irish was listed as his being an asthmatic. It isn't clear why he is listed with 19 years of service but according to the returns of the Royal Irish, he would have only had 16 1/2 years of service at his time of discharge.