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Twenty-Five Years in the Rifle Brigade   By:

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TWENTY FIVE YEARS IN THE RIFLE BRIGADE.

BY THE LATE WILLIAM SURTEES, QUARTERMASTER.

WILLIAM BLACKWOOD, EDINBURGH; AND T. CADELL, STRAND, LONDON.

MDCCCXXXIII.

EDINBURGH: PRINTED BY BALLANTYNE AND COMPANY, PAUL'S WORK, CANONGATE.

TO MAJOR GEN. SIR ANDREW F. BARNARD, K.C.B. and K.C.H. AND THE OFFICERS OF THE RIFLE BRIGADE, THESE REMAINS OF MY DECEASED BROTHER ARE MOST RESPECTFULLY DEDICATED, BY THEIR OBLIGED AND MOST OBEDIENT SERVANT, JOHN SURTEES.

PREFATORY NOTICE.

The Author of the following Narrative entered the Army in early life. He commenced his military career in 1795, as a private soldier in the Northumberland Militia; and in the following year he volunteered into the Pompadours. In this regiment he first faced the enemy, during the expedition to Holland under the Duke of York. On getting his discharge from the Pompadours, in 1802, he again entered the service as a private in the Rifle Brigade, to which he was attached for a period of twenty five years. From his steady conduct, and ardent love for his profession, he was soon advanced from the ranks, and, after various intermediate steps, was appointed Quartermaster; a situation which he held as long as he continued in the corps, enjoying the respect and esteem of his brother officers of all ranks, as is amply testified by the letters which form the Appendix to this volume.

Though, as Quartermaster, the Author was not called by duty to join in battle, yet he lost no opportunity of entering the scene of action, or of placing himself in a favourable situation for observing what was passing. It is unnecessary to enumerate the arduous services of the Rifle Brigade from 1802 to 1815. During the whole of that period the Author was actively engaged with his corps.

The Narrative is faithfully indeed literally printed from the Author's MS. as he left it at his death. The critical reader may therefore detect various inaccuracies which, had life been spared to the Author, would probably have been corrected; but he will find much to approve, and, hackneyed as Narratives of the Peninsular War have become, he will also find much that is new. There is no embellishment in the style of the Author's composition, but there is a quiet Defoe like sincerity and simplicity characteristic of his pages, and a strain of unaffected piety, that is very pleasing; and the scenes and descriptions which he gives, though sometimes singularly chosen, and reported quite with a manner of his own, are on the whole portrayed with strong graphic effect. One word, however, before closing, our Author is never vulgar.

A severe pulmonary affection compelled him to quit his corps in 1826. He retired to Corbridge, his native village, where he arrived on the 24th of October in that year, and continued there, respected and beloved, and constantly engaged in acts of benevolence, till the period of his death, 28th May, 1830.

November 23, 1832.

CONTENTS.

CHAPTER I. PAGE.

Birth and Parentage Enters the Militia Volunteers into the Line Joins the army destined for Holland The troops embark at Deal Land at the Helder Laxity of discipline March for Schagen Detachment under Sir Ralph Abercromby sent to surprise Hoorne Hoorne surrenders, 1

CHAPTER II.

The Russian Allies carry Bergen Allow themselves to be surprised, and the whole army forced to retire to their former position Skirmishing in the vicinity of Old Patten The Russians endeavour to force their way back to Bergen The Russian and British forces joined The enemy forced to abandon Egmont op Zee Alkmaar surrenders The troops advance to Egmont Binnen Skirmishing General engagement The Enemy repulsed The Forces retire to Zaand Wyck Armistice concluded Return to England, 13

CHAPTER III... Continue reading book >>




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