17th Regt. Button, recovered in New York
The Regiment's Formation and the Nine Year's War, 1688-1700
The War of Spanish Succession, 1701-1713
Garrison Duty and the Pretender, 1714-1746
The Seven Years War and American Service, 1757-1767
Return, Reorgantization, and Garrison Duty, 1767-1775
On American Service Again, 1775-1776
The Heroes of Princeton, January 1777 Under Revision
The Philadelphia Campaign and Monmouth, 1777-1778
The Martha' Vineyard Raid, Fall 1778
Stoney Point and Captivity, Winter 1778-1780 Under Revision
Formation of the 17th Company and Its Operations, 1779-1780 Under Revision
Yorktown and the End of the War, 1781-1783 Under Revision
While the 17th Regiment of Foot is not one of the official Ancient Corps of the British army, it is one of the oldest and finest regular British regiments. In the fall of 1688, with an invasion from Holland imminent, James II raised several new regiments of regulars to augment the numbers of his army. On September 27, 1688, a commission was presented to Solomon Richards, authorizing him to raise a regiment of foot that would one day become the 17th:
To Our Trusty and Welbeloved Solomon Richards Esqre, Captain of a Company, in Our Regt. of ffoot, whereof He himself is Colonel.
These are to authorise you, by Beat of Drumm or otherwise, to Raise Voluntiers for your own Company in Our Regt. of ffoot, whereof you are Colonel, which is to consist of Sixty Private Soldiers, Three Serjeants, Three Corporals, and Two Drummers, to be Mustered as each Soldier or Non-Commission-Officer shall be respectively produced unto the Commissary General of the Musters, his Deputy or Deputys, and to be allowed for one Month before the Day of such Muster, and, for such further time as They shall be Mustered by you. And, you are to Appoint such Person or Persons as you shall think fit to receive Arms for the said Voluntiers out of the Stores of Our Ordnance.
And We do hereby Require all Magistrates, Justices of the Peace, Constables, and other Our Officers, whom it may concern to be Assisting to you, in Providing Quarters and otherwise, as there shall be Occasion.
Given at Our Court at Whitehall, the 27th day of September, 1688, &c.
By the time William of Orange landed in Devon in November, the regiment was completed and stationed at Greenwich and Deptford to maintain order, with one company on guard at Windsor Castle. Richards Regiment remained on dispersed duty throughout the remainder of the year.
On April 3, 1689, Richards Regiment, in company with Cunninghams Regiment (later the 9th Regiment of Foot) sailed for Ireland to reinforce the Williamite forces at Londonderry. Cunningham, though junior to Richards, took overall command of the force when it arrived in Ireland. The governor of Londonderry, who had decided to surrender the town to the Stuart forces, gave a false report of the citys condition to Colonel Cunningham, which led him to withdraw the two regiments from the city and the country on the 19th of April, over Colonel Richards protests. William III cashiered both men until a Committee of the House of Commons absolved Richards. However, he did not regain command of the regiment, whose colonelcy instead passed to Sir George St. George on May 1, 1689. The regiment remained in garrison in England until early 1694, when it sailed for Flanders to take part in the 9 years war.
On January 13, 1694, the regiment arrived at Ostend, Belgium, where it was quartered until the spring. After taking part in operations with the main army throughout the year, St. Georges Regiment settled in Ostend for the winter. In the spring of 1695, Colonel Sir George St. George exchanged the colonelcy of the regiment with John Courthorpe, who took command from May 1st. Beginning on June 7th, the regiment took part in the siege of Kenoque, a fortress at the junction of the Loo and Dixmude canals. After over-running several enemy outposts, Courthorpes Regiment marched to join the army of Charles Henry of Lorraine, Prince of Vaudemont, which was covering the allied troops besieging Namur. However, the arrival of French Marshal Villeroy with 70,000 men forced Vaudemonts withdrawal to Ghent, from whence the regiment was employed in coastal security operations. After the surrender of the town of Namur, Courthorpes Regiment was dispatched to join the main army besieging the fortress, arriving on August 11th. On August 30th, the regiment took part in the storming of the fortress. Courthorpes provided the main cover and support for the Grenadiers storming the fortress, taking severe casualties due to the late arrival of other supporting units. After their arrival, the attack was continued and carried the citadel. The regiment lost three officers and 101 rank and file killed, including Colonel Courthorpe. Lieutenant-Colonel Sir Matthew Bridges, though seriously wounded, assumed the colonelcy from the 1st of September.
The regiment continued on active service in 1696 and 1697 until the war was concluded with the Treaty of Ryswick. The regiment was then detailed for home service and sailed for Ireland, landing in detachments at Cork and Kinsale on the 20th of December, though two companies were stranded at Plymouth due to the breakdown of their transport. These two companies rejoined the regiment in Ireland early in 1698. The regiment remained on service in Ireland until 1701. In accordance with a 1699 proclamation revising the strength of regiments of the Irish establishment, Bridges Regiment expanded to consist of 11 companies, mustering 37 officers, 22 sergeants, 11 drummers, and 396 privates.
In 1701, with the outbreak of the War of Spanish Succession, the regiment sailed to Holland, leaving Dublin on the 15th of June. Bridges Regiment went into garrison at Gorcum, where King William reviewed it on 3rd September. The regiment took part in operations throughout the Spanish Netherlands, including the sieges of Venloo (1702), Ruremonde (1702), Liege (1702), Huy (1703), and Limburg (1703). On August 26, 1703, Lieutenant-Colonel Blood was promoted to Colonel of the regiment, in place of Sir Matthew Bridges, who was appointed Governor of Londonderry. In late 1703, the regiment was chosen for service in Portugal and Spain, and returned to England on November 20th to expand its establishment to 13 companies consisting of three sergeants, three corporals, one drummer, and 56 privates each. After an abortive attempt in January 1704, the regiment arrived at Lisbon, Portugal, and disembarked on March 15. Bloods Regiment was first posted in several garrisons, but afterwards participated actively in the campaigns fought by the Earl of Galway, Commander-in-Chief in Portugal. The regiment fought at the sieges of Valencia de Alcantara and Albuquerque in Spring 1705, the proceeded to Badajoz for the second unsuccessful siege of that town. In 1706, the regiment took part in the siege of Alcantara, a fortress on the Tagus River, continuing on to take Ciudad Rodrigo on May 26, and finally arriving at Madrid on June 24th. Disagreements within the allied army and the late arrival of other forces resulted in Galways withdrawal from Madrid. Cut off from his base in Portugal by the combined Spanish and French army, Galways army wintered in Valencia. In 1707, the regiment, as part of Galways forces, took part in the battle of Alamanza, managing to escape from the destruction of most of the allied forces, though suffering heavy casualties. Following the battle, the regiment was brought back up to strength by incorporating stragglers from Alamanza. On January 1, 1707, the colonelcy was transferred to James Whightman. By late 1707, the regiment mustered 266 officers and men, including returned wounded and prisoners, having started the campaign with 466.
In 1708, Whightmans Regiment returned to England, arriving on April 12th, and set about recruiting to meet establishment strength. In 1709, the regiment marched to Edinburgh, and continued in service in Scotland until 1714. An order dated July 30, 1712, reduced the regiment to 12 companies, each consisting of one captain, one lieutenant, one ensign, two sergeants, three corporals, two drummers, and 50 privates- all men in excess were disbanded. By a royal warrant of April 23rd, 1713, the regiment was ranked 17th in seniority.
On April 2, 1714, the regiment received orders to embark for Ireland, where it landed at Donaghadee, on April 24th. It remained on Irish service until September 29, 1715, when it was recalled to England for service against the Pretender. The regiment took part in the Battle of Sheriffmuir on November 19, 1715, the decisive engagement of the uprising. In 1716, Whightmans Regiment formed part of the force that chased the Pretender out of Scotland, and remained in garrison in Scotland 1721. A War Office order for 8th November, 1717, reduced the regiment to ten companies, each of one captain, one lieutenant, one ensign, two sergeants, three corporals, one drummer, and 35 privates. The regiment sailed back to Ireland in 1721, appearing on the Irish establishment from the 30th of September. It then returned to England on 17th August, 1722, returning to Ireland and garrison at Kinsale on December 31st. Whightmans Regiment remained at Kinsale through 1724.
On July 11, 1725, the regiment embarked for Minorca, arriving by the 14th of August. The regiment remained on duty at Minorca until 1749, lending aid to the garrison of Gibraltar during its siege in 1727. In 1732, Whightmans mustered 19 officers, 4 staff, 30 sergeants, 30 corporals, 20 drummers and 441 private men. By virtue of a Royal Warrant for June 12th, 1739, the regiment was augmented by ten men per company, bringing the establishment strength up by one hundred. Each company now consisted of three sergeants, three corporals, two drummers, and 70 privates. The regiment sailed for Ireland in 1749, landing at Cork on October 5th. From then until 1757, the regiment served at various duty posts throughout Ireland. On 1st July, 1757, a Royal Warrant officially assigned the numerical designation 17 to the regiment.
On May 5, 1757, the regiment embarked from Cork and sailed to Halifax, Nova Scotia, where it arrived early in July and went into winter quarters. In a Return of troops under the Earl of Loudouns immediate command, dated 24th July, 1757, the 17th Regiment had 700 effective rank and file, with 30 wanting to complete. The regiment took part in the siege of Louisburg in the summer of 1758 as part of Wolfes Brigade, being one of the first units to land and drive the French from the beach. The regiment suffered minimal casualties during the siege. On August 30th, the 17th, in company with the 1st Battalion Royals, 48th Foot, and Frasers Highlanders, sailed for Boston and then marched to Lake George, where they joined the troops under Major-General Abercrombie. The regiment went into winter quarters in Philadelphia, as shown by a list of Quarters of Troops in North America, dated New York, 18 December 1758. In 1759, the regiment took part in the siege of Ticonderoga, then moved onto Crown Point, where they went into winter quarters. Meanwhile, the Grenadier Company had been detached for service with Wolfe, and was part of the force led by the General when he was struck down on the Plains of Abraham. This resulted in the formation of one of the regimental traditions, the playing of Wolfs Lament as the regimental march. In 1760, the 17th Regiment formed part of Colonel Havilands force, which advanced up Lake Champlain for Montreal, and were present for the surrender of the town. On December 23rd, two companies of the regiment, along with two companies of the 22nd Foot, were dispatched to South Carolina. There they took part in operations against the Cherokees under the command of Lieutenant-Colonel Grant of the 40th Regiment. In the summer of 1761, the bulk of the regiment proceeded to Staten Island, where it joined the expedition under General Monckton (the regiments colonel) bound for the West Indies. After peace was settled with the Cherokee, the two companies of the 17th, mustering a total of 148 men, where sent to Dominica in November to join the remainder of the regiment. The 17th, as part of Moncktons force, took part in subduing the French West Indies in 1762. The regiment was then detached to serve in the siege of Havannah, arriving there on June 6, 1762.
Following the successful conclusion of the siege, the regiment left for New York on August 20th, arriving on the 24th. The regiment had suffered serious losses from disease while on duty in the Caribbean, and immediately began recruiting upon arrival at New York. The regiment received 136 recruits from Virginia, 48 from North Carolina, and seven from Rhode Island. The outbreak of Pontiacs rebellion saw the 17th on active duty again. Amherst dispatched the regiment first to Albany, with orders to continue on to Fort Stanwix. By 11th August, 1763, the regiment was distributed between Oswego, Fort Stanwix, Fort Edward, and Fort George, where they continued throughout the winter. In may 1764, the regiment joined Bradstreets army for service on the Lakes. The army was split in half, with one body of troops sent to attack Indians between the Ohio and the lakes, while a second force, under Bradstreet, was to attack the tribes along the banks of the lakes. The latter force was ordered to Niagara, proceeding in large boats under the command of Lt.-Col. Campbell of the 17th. After leaving a sufficient garrison at Niagara, the force proceeded on to Detroit, which they reached on 26th August, receiving the submission of several Indian tribes along the way. Seven companies of the regiment, commanded by Lt. Col Campbell, remained in garrison at Detroit, while two companies with some militia were detached under the command of Captain Howard (17th) to take possession of Michillimackinac. Encountering no resistance, Howard extended his force to occupy other posts along Green Bay and Sault St. Marie that had been left unoccupied. The regiment remained deployed in this manner throughout 1764 and 1765, carrying on intermittent operations against rebellious Indians. By March 29, 1766, the 17th had extended its garrisons to cover Niagara and Oswego as well as Michillimackinac and Detroit. In July, the regiment was relieved from its stations and returned to New York, where five companies were stationed at New York City, one at Crown Point, one at Ticonderoga, one at Albany, and one divided between Forts Stanwix and George.
A November 11th letter from General Gage, Commander-in-Chief in America, reported that a fortnight previously, the company of the 17th at Albany was called out one night to quell a rising on the part of a mob, who had pulled down a storehouse belonging to the British, and robbed it of a quantity of provisions. The regiment remained in these deployments until concentrating at New York in July 1767 in preparation for returning to England. While in New York, 84 men were drafted from the 17th for service in the regiments remaining in America.
By September 1767, the regiment was back in England and quartered at the city of Wells in Somerset. The following letter from the War Office to Lord George Lennox, Colonel of the 25th Regiment of Foot, attests to the effects of the 17ths long stay in America:
The 17th. Regiment is Returned to England in very Indifferent Plight and Complaining much for the Want of Non Commission Officers, sufficiently able to fix their Discipline as to Exercise.General Monckton Expressed his Wishes, that he might have a Serjeant and Corporal with his Regiment, for some Months, from a well Disciplined Corpe.It was Impossible to think of any that could Answer his Purpose better than the 25th. If your Lordship will Consent to this, It will be a Favour, and as your Regiment marches to the South next Spring, the Serjeant and Corporal can join them at Chatham. I am to make many Excuses to your Lordship for taking the Liberty of Troubling you with this Application, But it is in Compliance with Generl. Moncktons Wishes, and the Certainty that It is Impossible for him to Desire it from a Corpe which can supply him better. The 17th. is Quartered in Somersetshire, and if you consent, The General will settle with Colonel Weston as to their Coming to the South.
I am My Lord &c
Septemr: 12th, 1767.
Lennoxs reply is not known, but the 17th was obviously in fairly desperate straits at this period in its history. Not only was the regiment lacking in experienced drill instructors, it was also chronically short of men. From the end of 1767 on, Lieutenant-Colonel John Darby, the commander of the regiment, was given permission by the War Office to conduct intensive recruiting to bring the regiment up to establishment strength. Although scheduled for royal review in the spring of 1768, the 17th was still so weak by February that the inspection was delayed, although the War Office made it clear that His Majesty expects all effort to be devoted to the recruiting parties to bring the regiment up to establishment.
By late spring of 1769, the regiment was sufficiently near establishment strength to stand for inspection. On May 17, 1769, Major General George Cary inspected the 17th at Chatham Barracks. Finding the regiment fit for service, Cary also commented that the men were wearing white Linnen Breeches and that the Grenadiers &c have Cloth Caps the Furrd ones not being yet finished. In all other ways the regiments clothing conformed to the new regulations issued in the 1768 warrant. In 1770, the 17th moved to garrison at Tynmouth. While there, the regiment underwent the general augmentation ordered by the King on December 25, 1770. In total, 20 private men were added to each Company, and a Company of Light Infantry of the same Numbers to each Battalion amounting to 737, Including Officers & Contingent Men. For the first time ever, the regiment was now equipped with a dedicated Light Company, which must have met with approval by the many veterans of the Seven Years War.
In 1771, the regiment marched to Scotland, where it remained on duty at Aberdeen until 1773. In company with the 22nd Regiment of Foot, the 17th sailed for Ireland, arriving at Donaghadee on February 10, 1773. The regiment remained on service in Ireland until late 1775, when it embarked for America.
In early Fall 1775, the 17th Regiment sailed for America in company with the 55th Regiment and other units. During the passage to America, the various ships carrying the regiment were separated by fall weather. The first four companies arrived in November and were first mentioned in General Orders on November 19, 1775, when Howe ordered that The Companies of the 17th. Regiment to give their proportion for duty. On December 11th, the regiment was reviewed by Major-General Clinton, although the six missing companies, along with a detachment from the 55th, do not appear to have arrived. The remaining six companies of the regiment arrived between December 25, 1775 and January 15, 1776 when Howe reported their arrival along with elements of the 55th Regiment on board the Grosvenor and Grand Duke of Russia Indiamen. The regiment served regular garrison duty with the other units at Boston. On January 4th, the Light Company was detached to do duty with Major Musgraves Corps of Light Infantry. While aiding in the defense of Boston in the face of a tightening cordon of rebel units, the regiment was also training men in aimed fire, an invaluable skill in the service that would take up the next eight years of the regiments life. In February, the sergeants of the battalion companies exchanged their halberds for muskets, in accordance with Howes orders to that effect. On February 20th, Lieutenant The Honorable William Leslie purchased Captain Lyons office and rose to command the Grenadier Company, at whose head he would achieve immortality at Princeton a little under a year later. On March 16th, the regiment sailed with the rest of the evacuated Boston Garrison to Halifax, where they stayed until July. The army continued training, refitted, and re-organized, with the formation of two battalions each of Grenadiers and Light Infantry. The 17th Regiment received several new officers during this period. Lieutenant-Colonel John Darby was superceded by Lieutenant-Colonel Charles Mawhood, formerly Lieutenant-Colonel of the 19th Regiment of Foot, on April 4th. Captain Turner Straubenzee of the 17th Light Dragoons replaced Goodenough, who had retired on January 6th, as Major of the regiment on May 14th. On the same day, the battalions of Grenadiers and Light Infantry were formed. The 17ths Light Company was detached to serve in the 1st Battalion of Light Infantry, while the Grenadier Company went with the 1st Battalion of Grenadiers. Major Straubenzee was detached to serve in the 2nd Battalion of Light Infantry. On may 16th, the 17th was assigned to the 4th Brigade under the command of Major-General Grant and were assigned to the Felicity and Liberty transports on May 18th, with a reported strength of 383 men.
The army sailed for New York in early June, arriving off Sandy Hook on June 29th. The 17th fought in all of the battles for New York City. After the island was secured, the 17th, as part of the 4th Brigade, was held in reserve during the Battle of White Plains and remained at the White Plains camp through the taking of Forts Washington and Lee and Cornwalliss excursion through New Jersey. On November 24th, the 4th Brigade marched as the commander-in-chiefs escort on his journey to meet with Cornwallis, arriving in Trenton on December 8th. From there, the 17th Regiment was dispatched to Brunswick and Hillsborough before taking up quarters at Princeton with the 55th and 40th Regiments of Foot. With the campaign season approaching its formal close and winter setting in, the British army went into winter quarters spread throughout New Jersey.
On December 26, 1776, Washington launched his famous attack at Trenton, capturing the Hessian garrison and retreating across the Delaware. Earl Cornwallis, on his way to England, was recalled and took command of the troops in New Jersey from General Grant, although not quickly enough to beat Washington to the Delaware. On January 2, 1777, Washington again crossed over into New Jersey and faced off with Cornwallis at the second battle of Trenton. That evening, the rebel army marched from its entrenchments by a circuitous route for Princeton, where Cornwallis had left the 4th Brigade, consisting of the 17th, 40th, and 55th Regiments. On the morning of January 3rd, Lieutenant-Colonel Mawhood, commander of the 4th Brigade, marched his troops out of Princeton, intending to join Lord Cornwallis at Trenton. Along the way, he encountered Washingtons army and immediately attacked, bayonet charging Mercers brigade. Mercer was killed in the fighting, bayoneted by soldiers of the 17th. Taking up a defensive position at a fence line, the regiment successfully crushed attacks by rebel militia until General Washington arrived and rallied his forces. With encirclement inevitable, Mawhood ordered the 17th to charge bayonets once again and broke through the rebel lines, continuing on for Maidenhead. Simultaneously, the rest of the 55th and 40th Regiments, aside from detachments that were captured in Princeton, retreated up the road to Brunswick. At this time, the 17th Regiment was seriously under strength and at Princeton had only 280 men. Despite a numerical disadvantage varying between 1 to 10 and 1 to 20 (depending on estimates of the rebel armys size), the 17th nevertheless managed to defeat a substantial portion of the rebel forces and escape, though not without loss. Captain William Leslie of the Grenadier Company, an extremely promising young officer, was killed at the head of his command at the beginning of the battle. In total, the regiment lost one captain and twelve rank and file killed, one captain (McPherson), one lieutenant, one ensign, 4 sergeants, and 46 rank and file wounded, and one sergeant, one drummer, and 33 rank and file missing. Most of the missing returned during the following days, having become lost during the breakout and the subsequent march to Maidenhead. While much attention is rightly concentrated on the Battle of Princeton, another action that day also earned the acclaim of the army and the Commander-in-Chief. With only 40 men, Captain William Scott of the 17th Regiment successfully defended the 4th Brigades baggage train against almost overwhelming numbers of rebel attackers. Thomas Sullivan of the 49th Regiment of Foot left us the following account in his diary:
Captain Scott of the 17th Regiment with a party of 40 men under his command, having the Guard of the 4th Brigades Baggage, was attacked by a large body of the Enemy that were retreating from Princetown; but he formed his men upon commanding ground, and after refusing to deliver the Baggage, fought with his men back to back; and forced the Enemy to withdraw, bringing off the Baggage safe to Brunswick.
General Howe, in his orders for January 8, 1777, made special mention of Captain Scotts conduct while praising Lieutenant-Colonel Mawhood and the 17th Regiment for their valiant behavior at Princeton:
HEAD QUARTERS, New York, Jan. 8th., 1777
General Howe desires Lieut.-Col. Mawhood will accept his thanks for his Gallantry and good Conduct in the Attack made upon the Enemy on the 3d. Instant. He desires his thanks may also be given to the Officers and Soldiers of the 17th. Foot, to part of the 55th. Regiment, and other Detachments on their march, who on that occasion supported the 17th. Regiment and Charged the Enemy with Bayonet in the most Spirited manner.
The General desires his public Approbation may be signified to Capt. Scott, of the 17th. Foot, for his remarkable good conduct in protecting and securing the Baggage of the 4th. Brigade on the above Occasion.
Their conduct at Princeton and at many other battles throughout the American War made the 17th Regiment one of the truly outstanding British units of the war.
Following the Battle of Princeton, the 17th Regiment once again went into winter quarters, this time at Brunswick. The regiment marched with the rest of the army to New York in the spring of 1777 and boarded transports for Head of Elk. The 17th took part in the 1777 Philadelphia campaign as part of the 4th Brigade, which included the 35th and 64th Regiments of Foot. While serving in the reserve for the opening movements of the campaign, the 17th Regiment was actively engaged at the Battle of Brandywine, where its light company, serving with the 1st Battalion of Light Infantry, was immortalized by the account of its actions contained in Feinstone 111, one of the few surviving accounts of light infantry actions during the war.
When Earl Cornwallis took Philadelphia in late September 1777, the Grenadier Company of the 17th Regiment was with them. Under the command of the intrepid Captain Scott, the 17th Grenadiers not only took the rebel Delaware frigate, but also distinguished themselves during the fighting on Providence Island. On October 4th, when Washingtons army attacked the British positions at Germantown, the regiment again played a vital role in coming to the relief of the 40th Regiment of Foot, which was ensconced in the Chew House. Major André provided a brief account of the 17ths conduct in his journal entry for the battle:
The 4th Brigade received Orders by inclining to their right to enter German Town and drive the Enemy from it. From some misunderstanding, or from receiving some fire, they did not immediately go into the village, but halted on the skirts of it, and kept up a very heavy fire against a distant Column they had some intimation of in front. The 17th and 44th Regiments were therefore ordered to wheel to the right and drive out the Rebels. This was executed, the 44th crossing the village and moving up the skirts on the opposite side, and the 17th moving up the street. General Grey headed the 44th Regiment. Lord Cornwallis came up as the Rebels had retired, and took the command of the left wing, with which he pursued as far as Whitemarsh Church, leaving a Corps at Chestnut Hill.
The 17th Regiment remained in garrison at Philadelphia with the rest of the army through the transition of power from Howe to Clinton. When the city was evacuated in June 1778, the regiment marched as part of the 3rd Brigade and fought beside the Guards at the Battle of Freehold (Monmouth Courthouse) June 28, 1778. After successfully defeating the rebel assault, the 17th withdrew with the army to New York and remained on duty there until August.
On the August 26, 1778, the 17th Regiment marched with the rest of the 3rd Brigade, the 4th Brigade, the 1st Battalion of Grenadiers, and the 1st Light Infantry under the overall command of Major General Grey to Flushing Fly from their positions at Bedford. On the 27th, the troops marched to Whitestone and were embarked upon transports. The 17th was assigned to the Margaret & Martha and the Alicia. At this time, the regiment was reported to be 287 men strong. The fleet sailed on the 28th, arriving in Rhode Island Harbor on September 1st, to find that the Battle of Newport had already taken place and the rebels had evacuated the island. The fleet sailed the next day for the rebel privateer base at New London, but arrived in such disarray on September 4th that Generals Grey and Clinton decided against landing the troops. Grey proposed to move on and attack New Bedford, Massachusetts, in Buzzards Bay. Clinton agreed to this plan and returned to New York onboard the Galatea later in the evening. At five oclock in the afternoon of September 4th, the fleet sailed from New London, bound for New Bedford. At three in the afternoon of the 5th, several large sail of ships were seen to the east. Given the possibility that they were French ships from the fleet at Boston, Grey decided to make sail back for Rhode Island and the protection of the ships posted there. At seven oclock on the morning of September 6th, the strange ships came up with Greys Fleet and turned out to be Admiral Lord Howe. After conversing with the admiral, Greys fleet once again sailed off for New Bedford, arriving a little before sunset at Clarks Cove. The grenadiers and light infantry were immediately landed and marched off to secure New Bedford, while the 33rd, 64th, and 42nd Regiments were landed in support. Meanwhile, the 17th, along with the 44th, landed at Skonticut Neck, where the expeditionary force to New Bedford was ordered to rendezvous. Six companies under Sir James Murray landed directly in New Bedford and burned the town, while the 33rd Regiment raid Fair Haven and burned all the stores of military value that they could find. The entire force rendezvoused at Skonticut Neck at 6 AM on the 7th and was quickly embarked.
Following the success of the New Bedford Raid, General Grey decided to continue on to Marthas Vineyard, with an eye towards raiding Nantucket at the same time, and sent word to Rhode Island for transports to carry back cattle and sheep. On September 10, the fleet arrived at Homes Harbor and came to anchor, except for the Grenadiers, Light Infantry, and the 33rd Regiment, which Grey intended to use in raiding Nantucket. Unfortunately, unfavorable winds foiled this plan, so Grey concentrated on Marthas Vineyard. On the evening of the 10th, several rebel committee of safety men came aboard General Greys ship to submit to his authority. Grey required them to direct the inhabitants to drive in their sheep and cattle, or that Troops should be marched thro the Island; likewise to bring in their arms, or that the Colonel and Captains of the Militia should be sent prisoners to New York. On the morning of September 11th, a detachment of 150 men from each regiment in the harbor landed under Lieutenant-Colonel Stirling and secured the main harbor. Meanwhile, the ships from Rhode Island that Grey had requested for taking up cattle and sheep arrived. The next morning, several thousand cattle and sheep were embarked on these vessels, which sailed for Rhode Island.
The detachments from the 17th, 37th, and 46th Regiments were ordered to assemble on the beach, while Colonel Donkin with the 44th Regiment marched towards the Southeast of the Island. Only 229 stand of arms had been turned over to the army, so the militia officers were taken into custody along with the committee men, who had concealed a quantity of ammunition. On the 13th, the 17th, 37th, and 46th Regiments were embarked as more arms, sheep, and oxen came in from the countryside. Two men had deserted from the shore parties and were required to be brought in by the inhabitants on pain of having a double number of their friends seized. A tender from Lord Howe arrived bearing orders for the fleet to return to New York, so any lingering plans for Nantucket were set aside and the collected cattle and sheep were embarked upon the ships. Orders were sent to Colonel Donkin at Chilmarck to return and embark, which was completed on September 14th. With the cattle onboard and the deserters restored, the Militia officers and Committeemen were released with a solemn injunction to abstain from taking part any more in the War or persecuting others for their political opinions. Before leaving, Grey took up the money that had been collected by the inhabitants for a Congressional tax and destroyed a salt work.
The fleet sailed late in the afternoon of September 15th, arriving at Rhode Island on the 16th. By September 18th, the entire fleet was at Whitestone once more. In total, the expedition had carried away 10,000 sheep, 300 cattle, £950 in Continental Currency, and a large number of military accoutrements. On the 18th, 19th, and 20th of September, the troops landed and marched for New Bedford. On the 22nd, they were once again embarked and sent to Paulus Hook and were stationed at Bergen. On the 23d, the men move forward to English Neighborhood where they encamped with their left to Newbridge. On September 27th, Generals Grey and Cornwallis marched with several corps to Old Tappan, N.J. for the famous massacre of Baylors dragoons, though the 17th Regiment was left behind in English neighborhood. On October 15th, the 17th returned to New York and took up its winter encampment.
I have recently received new primary sources on Stoney Point and the regiment's stay in captivity, including Lieutenant-Colonel Henry Johnson's extremely detailed 1781 Court Martial for the loss of Stoney Point. These sources take a great deal of time to absorb and write up, so your patience is much appreciated.
From October 1778 through July 16, 1779, the 17th Regiment was on duty at Fort Independence and the fortifications at Stoney Point. For the regiment, this was a fairly mundane period of garrison duty and getting used to a new commanding officer, Lieutenant-Colonel Henry Johnson, who replaced Mawhood in late 1778. The 17th spent the winter of 1778 and the early spring of 1779 in posts around the edge of New York City, especially at Fort Knyphausen (the re-named Fort Washington that had been captured in 1776), occasionally sending details to act as the Commander-in-Chief's guard. In late May, a force consisting of the 17th, 33rd, 42nd, 63rd, and 64th Regiments, along with the battalions of Light Infantry and Grenadiers and detachments of provincials, advanced up the Hudson River and seized King's Ferry. Construction began on two posts, each anchoring one end of the ferry. On the northeastern shore stood Verplanck's Point, while on the southwest stood Stoney Point. Verplanck's Point was heavily fortified with enclosed works and garrisoned by the 33rd Regiment, while the Stoney Point defenses, mostly constructed by the 64th Regiment, consisted of two lines of abbattis and several open artillery emplacements with no enclosed works. While the lines of abbattis continued for a short distance into Haverstraw Bay and the Hudson River on either side of the point, they were no real obstacle to an attack. The artillery emplacements were constructed in such a manner as to prevent the guns from be sufficiently lowered to fire effectively at close range on advancing forces. When the main force retired from the area, Lieutenant-Colonel Henry Johnson, with the 17th Regiment, the 71st Grenadier Companies, and detachments of Provincials and Royal Artillery was left at Stoney Point, under the overall command of Colonel Webster. Johnson recognized the danger of not having an enclosed work in his post and began construction of one in late June. Unfortunately, the work was not completed by July 15th when Continental General Anthony Wayne stormed the post with 2,000 men of the Continental Light Infantry. Columns moving around the edges of the point were able to enter the works behind the second line of abbattis, cutting off Stoney Point's defenders and isolating them between the two lines. Captain Francis Tew was killed by a rebel volley while leading his company in a bayonet charge to clear the rebels from the upper works. Realizing that he was encircled, Colonel Johnson requested Wayne's terms of surrender, and when promised good treatment for his men, he agreed to surrender the garrison. Isolated posts, including a detachment of 20 men from the 17th with an officer of the Royal Artillery, negotiated similar terms, promising to fight to the death if they were not properly treated. The story that the garrison surrendered without a fight is a malicious myth and had Wayne not agreed to grant acceptable terms, it is quite likely that his force would have suffered severe and debilitating casualties in attempting to posses the post. On July 16th, the garrison was marched off for internment in Pennsylvania. The officers were seperated from the men, in strict defiance of accepted protocol, and sent to Philadelphia, while the men marched to Goshen under their non-commissioned officers. While in route to Goshen, a portion of the 17th attempted to overpower their guards and escape, according to a report found in the George Washington Papers. At least 11 men of the regiment were wounded in the attempt- the number of rebels wounded and killed is unknown. While in captivity, the men were put to work in shoe factories and other business providing war supplies to the rebels, again in defiance of accepted protocol. At least one man deserted while on this duty- it is not presently known if he found his way back to the British lines. The officers of the regiment were exchanged in December 1780, while the enlisted men had returned by January 1781, when Colonel Johnson was court-martialed, at his own request, for the fall of Stoney Point, for which he was found not guilty.
 WO 26/6, cited in E. A. H. Webb, A History of the Service of the 17th (The Leicestershire) Regiment, Vacher and Sons Ltd, London: 1911.
 Webb, pgs 5-6.
 Ibid, pgs 8-12.
 Ibid, pgs 13-16
 Ibid, pgs 16-27
 WO 26/14
 WO 26, Vol. XVI
 Webb, pgs 32-36
 Ibid, pgs 36-40
 CO 5/54
 Webb, pgs 41-57
 Webb, pg 61
 Ibid, pgs 57-61
 WO 25/3997
 WO 3/1, pg. 79, Letter from E. H. to Lord George Lennox, September 12, 1767.
 WO 3/24, pg 9, Letter from E. H. to John Darby, January 20, 1768.
 WO3/24, pg 9, Letter E. H. to John Darby, February 5, 1768.
 WO 27/15, Review of the 17th Regiment of Foot at Chatham by Major General George Cary, 17th May, 1769.
 WO 25/3997
 Stephen Kemble, Journals of Lieut.-Col. Stephen Kemble, 1773-1789; and British Army Orders: Gen. Sir William Howe, 1775-1778; Gen. Sir Henry Clinton, 1778; and Gen. Daniel Jones, 1778, prepared by the New York Historical Society, Boston: Gregg Press, 1972. Pg 256.
 Ibid, pg 272; CO 5/36, letter from Howe to Germaine, dated Boston, 15th January, 1776
 Indiamen was a period term for vessels built and operated by the English East India Company.
 Kemble, pg 290, General Orders HEAD QUARTERS, Boston, 4th. Jan., 1776.
 Ibid, pg 298, General Orders January 20, 1776; pg 300, General Orders January 24, 1776
 Ibid, pg 303, General Orders February 8, 1776.
 Ibid, pg 329, General Orders April 4, 1776.
 Ibid, pg 352, General Orders May 14, 1776.
 Ibid, pgs. 355, 358, General Orders May 16 and 18, 1776, CO 5/93
 !7th Regiment of Foot Orderly Book, Lt. Col. Charles Mawhood, October 11- December 28, 1776, New York Historical Society Library, transcribed by Gilbert V. Riddle, pgs. 23-29.
 Ibid, pg 67.
 Sheldon S. Cohen, Captain William Leslies Paths of Glory, New Jersey History, Vol. 108, Nos. 1-2, Spring/Summer 1990.
 Extract of a letter from Howe to Germaine, dated New York, January 5th, 1777 published in Felix Farleys Bristol Journal, Vol. XXVI, No. 1358, Saturday, March 1, 1777.
 Thomas Sullivan, From Redcoat to Rebel: The Thomas Sullivan Journal, pg. 101.
 Stephen Kemble, Journals of Lieut.-Col. Stephen Kemble, 1773-1789; and British Army Orders, pgs. 434-435.
 John André, Major Andrés Journal, pg. 25
 Ibid, pg. 55.
 Ibid, pg 92
 Ibid, pg 93
 John Robert Shaw, John Robert Shaw, An Autobiography of Thirty Years, 1777-1807, pg 26.
 Roger Lamb, An Original and Authentic Journal of Occurences during the late American War, pg 274.
 Library of Congress, Peter Force Papers, Series IX, Reel 105, pgs. 539-540, provided by Todd Braisted.
 Thomas Hughes, A Journal by Thos: Hughes, Cambridge University Press, 1947, pg 70, provided by Don Hagist.
 The source of the document was not cited but a photo-reproduction is presented as Exhibit 5 in the 'Journal of the Johannes Schwalm Historical Association, Inc.' Vol. 1, No. 4 (1980), p. 6. Provided by Don Hagist.
 Hughes, pg 72.
 A British Orderly Book, 1780-1781, North Carolina Historical Review, Vol. 9, Jan-Oct 1932, pgs 166-178.
 N237, Nr. 55, f. 67, Niedersaechsisches Staatsarchiv Wolfenbuettel, transcribed by Todd Braisted
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