Peninsula Campaign 1813-14

 San Sebastian

2/84th Foot, were originallt to be destined for garrison duty at Gibraltar; Wellington had a disliking for troops that had previously served in the Expedition to the Scheldt, due to their suffering ill-health from contractin ‘Walcheren Fever’

18th July 1813, Wellington wrote to Lieutenant-General Campbell, Governor of Gibraltar Send to the army the 37th Regiment, when the 2nd batt. 84th Regiment shall arrive at Gibraltar

20th July 1813 – Lord Aylmer is to proceed to Passages, in order to take command of the 76th, 85th and 37th Regiments, which are expected there and to form a Brigade under his command, which will eventually be attached to the 1st Division of Infantry. The 37th Regiment being to come from Gibraltar, will not arrive for some time

The 37th Regiment finally arrived off the coast 8th March 1814

29th July 1813 – Embarked on ship at Cork for England –

Lieutenat-Colonel Lloyd

Captains Jenkin; Urquhart; Bernard; Jonson; Johnson; Lane; Pigott; Stannard

Lieutenants Walker; Bernard; S Beamish; Cruise; Basden; Statham; B Beamish; Peach; Warren; Westly; Entwistle; McGreggor; Holmes; Thackwray; Lloyd

Ensign O’Gregg; Barry; Daly; Jervis; Stewart; Cart; Slyfield

Adjutant Archdeacon

Quartermaster Cockburne;

Surgeon Lloyd

Assistant Surgeon Bell; Inglis

Paymaster Griffin.

42 Serjeants; 39  Corporals; 16 Drummers; 766 Men

5th August 1813 – Sailed with the 76th & 85th Foot,  but due to poor winds and being becalmed at sea it was 6 days before the Spanish coast was sighted

15th August 1813 – The fortress of St Sebastian was sighted and cannon fire heard from the besieged City

16th August 1813 – Arrived at Passages

17th August 1813 – Regiment disembarked at Passages in the North of Spain

Over the next few days, the new brigade arrived from England and Gibraltar and was attached to Graham’s 1st Division and detached Andalusian Battalions. They were located behind Vera in the Lower Bidassao. To support Longa’s weak force.

This anomalous brigade always under the command of Major-General Lord Matthew Aylmer was never formally attached to the 1st Division, but always acted with it. This Brigade consisted of the 76th (Hindoostan); 2/84th and 85th (Bucks. Volunteers) Light Infantry Regiments.

(For 85th Foot read

25th August 1813 – Wellington informed Earl Bathurst that the 76th; 84th & 85th had joined and were under the command of Lord Aylmer. They were considered ‘irregularity’ as being incapable of marching more than 5 miles without falling into disorder

27th August 1813 – As dawn broke a single shell was fired into the air which signalled the commencement of the bombardment of San Sebastian which continued for four days

31st August 1813 – At approximately 10.30 the ‘Forlorn Hope’ gathered in readiness for the assault on San Sebastian, which they briefly took possession of before Marshall Soult arrived with a relieving force and re-took possession

The ‘Forlorn Hope’ consisted of fifty volunteers from each battalion of the 1st, 4th and Light Divisions. (750 men)

However General Leith in charge of the 5th Division would not let the ‘Forlorn Hope’ lead; but extended them along the trench works whilst Robinson’s Brigade (1,000 men from 4th; 47th & 59th) stormed the breach

1st September 1813 – 2/84th and Lord Aylmer’s brigade occupied the village of Oyerzum, covering the siege of San Sebastian. This was the commencement of the 2nd siege following the failed attack on 31st August 1813. And was followed by a continued bombardment by the artillery

Sir Thomas Graham wrote to Wellington 1st September 1813 – Notwithstanding every exertion of General Hay and the Staff Officers, was such from the drunkenness of our soldiers and the plundering of all, especially the Portuguese, that I sent from the place an order for Lord Aylmer’s Brigade to come immediately to the town……… I thought it best to order out the detachments, as they were under the least control; many of their officers being wounded. (This may be a reason why several men made a refused claim for the clasp St Sebastian to thier M.G.S.)

9th September 1813  After the continued bombardment of San Sebastian, 80 officers and 1756 men marched out and laid down their arms, leaving 23 officers and 512 men in hospital.

October 1813 – There was no stronghold now retained by the French in the North of Spain except Santona. The blockade there had been tedious, and Wellington, whose sea communications were interrupted by the privateers from there, formed a small British Corps under Lord Aylmer to attack Laredo, which, on the opposite point of Santona harbour commanded the anchorage.

Accidental circumstances prevented this enterprise and Santona remained in the enemy’s possession.

7th October 1813 – Passage of Bidassoa or Vera 2/84th’s first action in the Peninsula

17th October 1813 – 2/84th transferred from Lord Aylmer’s to Robinson’s (5.B) Brigade); and were Brigaded with 1/4th King’s Own Lancashire and 2/59th East Lancashire Regiment; Brunswick Oels and Spry’s Portuguese  (Fortescue page 525)

7th November 1813 –  The Brigade was warned for an attack to be carried out the following  morning

8th November 1813 – 4 am the Brigade was under arms and ready to advance, when it was stood down due to the bad state of the roads for a two day period to allow the roads to dry

10th November 1813 – Battle of Nivelle 

11th November 1813 – The advance was resumed and Soult fell back to the entrenched Camp at Bayonne, overlooking the high roads on both sides of the Nive and passages across the river.

Fog arrested the advance of the allies, but when it cleared Hope took up post at Bidart having forded the Nivelle above St Jean du Luz

The 2/84th Light Division, assembled to receive thanks from Brigadier Commander General Robinson

9th December 1813 –  Battles of Nive

During December 1813 outbreaks of flux and fever caused numerous deaths on a daily basis for the next four months until March 1814 as a consequence of which the battalion was sent to Hendaye for recovery, thereby ending any further involvement in the campaign.

14th April 1814, the 84th Foot finally having recovered from the fever, would re-join the atmy at Vera

May 1814 the battalion remained at Anglet

13th August 1814 battalion moved to Urragne

2nd September 1814 the 2/84th sailed from Rentaria for Ireland, where they disembarked over a two day period 8/9th September before marching to Fermoy

24th October 1814 the battalion moved to Limerick, where strengthening of the battalion would take place over the ensuing months