Two Battle of Waterloo Letters

Edited by Keith Raynor

Twenty years as a reenactor, Mr Raynor is an experienced and thorough researcher in England and contributes articles regularly to Magazines such as First Empire and the Age of Napoleon.  Mr Raynor assists the Discriminating General considerably in unearthing key documents and artifacts that allow us to more accurately manufacture of our products.

         The literature of the Waterloo Campaign is legion, with authors pontificating about this strategy or that tactic, to the confusion or enlightenment of their readership. So, it is sometimes nice to find some material concerning that campaign which though not prehaps inspiring any heavenly discourse is neverless, informative, at times amusing and down to earth. Fitting these sentiments are the two letters transcribed below. One letter being Orders for the 2nd North British Dragoons (Scots Greys), and the other a private letter from a Trooper in the 1st Dragoon Guards. I have left this last letter by Charles Stanley as he wrote it, without grammar, spelling or punctuation corrections. The letter keeps its charm that way.

Horse Guards, 7th April 1815.

Sir, I have received and submitted to the Commander-in-Chief your letter of the 5th ins, and in reply have it in command to signify to you, that the Standards are to be taken with the Three Squadrons of the Royal North British Dragoons intended for embarkation, it is H.R.H's pleasure, that the Bayonets and Armourer's Forge Cart may be left at the Regimental Depot, but you will of course take care that the Regimental Armourer is provided with, and takes with him, such Tools as may be indispensably necessary for preserving the Arms of the Corps in a state of repair on service.

The dismounted men in the proportion of five per Troop, are to take their Arms with them.

I am further directed to signify H.R.H's approval, in compliance with your recommendation, of an experienced Captain being selected for the charge of the Regimental Depot, which on the Embarkation of the Corps, will consist of the Officers and Non Commissioned Officers exceeding the establishment of Six Troops and the number of men above the proportion directed in my letter of the 3rd ins. to be in readiness for embarkation.

(To) Colonel Hamilton I have, H.C.,A.G. Comg. 2nd(or R.N.B.) Dragoons.

Charles Stanley Privet Kings Dragun Guards To Mr. Cristerfer Alvey Booton Near Ollerton Nottinghamshire England

Wm. Fuller Lt.Col 1st. Dn. Gds. Brusels Flemish Flanders May 15th 1815 Dear Cusson I take this Oppetunety of Riting to you hoping this will find you all In gud helth as it leves me at Pressent I Thank God for It I have ad a Verry Ruf march Since i sow you at Booton we am onley 15 miles From Mr. Boney Part Harmey wish we Expect To have a Rap at him Exerry Day We have the Most Cavilrey of the English that Ever was None at One time and in Gud Condishon and Gud sperrits we have lost a few horses by hour Marshing I have the Plesure to say my horse Is Better Everry Day Wish i think im to be the Best frend i have at Pressant there is no dout Of us Beting the Confounded Rascald it ma Cost Me my Life and a meaney more that will onley Be the forting of War my Life i set ne store By at all this is the finest Cuntrey Exer i So far before England the peepal is so Sivel thare land Coltevated so well most of them as a littel land and they Havit as Clen as a Jentelmas Garden tha are Sadley a frad of Boneys Harmey Comming a gane he Distrest them so before we have sum Littel trubel to make them Understand us not noing thare Languige we do a grate del By makin moshins

We have one gud thing Cheap that is Tobaco and Everrything a-Cordnley Tobaco is 4d Per 1b Gin is 1s 8d Per Galland that is 2 1/2 Per Quart and Everrything In Perposion hour alounse Per Day is One Pound of Beef a Pound and half of Bred half a Pint o Gin But the worst of all we dont get it Regeler and If we dont get it the Day it is due we Luse it wish It is ofton the Case i asure you My Dear Lad I hop Wot Ever may Comacros your mind to trobel You wish i hope nothing will I hope you never will think Of Being a Soldier I Asure you it is a Verry Ruf Consarn I have Rote to my Sister Ann and I ham afraid She thinks the trubel to mush to answer my Letter wen Over at Woodhous she semed Verry Desires of mi Ritting to her out of site ou of mind I have not ad the Pleasure of Ling in a Bed sinco In the Cuntrey thank God the Weather is fine Wish is in hour faver we Get no Pay at all onley hour Bed and mete and Gin we have 10d Per Day soped from us wish we shal Reseive wen six months is Expiered I thank God i have a frend with me wish i Find verry yousfol to me i asure you ( I have not any Time to say any ) I hope you will Excuse my Bad Inditing and Spelling my Love to Aunt and Cussons Mrs Darby Cusson Joseph and family at Edwinsto and all that Thinks well to ask after me my Duty to Mother wen you see her.

If you think well to answer my Letter wish I should Be Verry gad You would I Should be Verry Glad To here from you all Plese to Derect to me

To Charles Stanley the fost or Kings Dragun Gurds Kings Troop Brstels, Flanders or Elswere

Hour Rigment is Brgaded with the Two Rigments of Life Guards and the Oxferd Bluse So no more at Prssant from your Ever wel wisher C. Stanly God Bles you all

Be so gud as to Pay a Penny with your Letter and see it marked Post Pade

NOTES. -------

1. The orders for the 2nd Dragoons are to be found in the P.R.O. Kew reference WO 3/369 page 382. 2. Charles Stanleys letter is found in the Nottinghamshire Archivies Office, reference DD191/1. It is printed with the permission of the Principal Archivist. The words enclosed in brackets are scratched out in the original letter. 3. The Regimental Pay Lists for the First (or Kings) Dragoon Guards have survived for 1815. They can be found in the P.R.O Kew, reference WO 12/96. The Quarterley Pay List for the period 25th April to 24th June, shows a Chas. Stanley of No.1 Company (Troop) listed as missing. The Quarterley Pay List for the period 25th June to 24th September shows Chas. Stanley as missing since 18th June. Most poignant of all, the author is shown in the, "Supplementary Pay List for men in Consequence of having served in the Battle of Waterloo", as being, "Killed in action 18th June 1815". 4. Places mentioned in Charles Stanleys letter can be identified as : Booton near Ollerton is Boughton, Edwinsto is Edwinstowe, and Woodhous is most probably Mansfield Woodhouse. All these places are in the old Sherwood Forest area of North Nottinghamshire.

Published in " Age of Napoleon " and reproduced here by permission of the author


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