4: Lieutenants
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 4Lieutenants This chapter examines the officers who reached the rank of lieutenant during their service in North America. Many of these officers continued to a higher rank. A few retired as lieutenants, and others died in the service. Lieutenant was the most common rank in the regiment: there were nine lieutenancies before the regiment’s expansion in 1770 and eleven lieutenancies after that.The role of the lieutenant was to assist the captain and command the company in his stead, should he be absent. Lieutenants regularly took on that role in the Royal Irish for both short and lengthy periods. Absentee Captain Benjamin Johnson’s company, for instance, was always commanded by a lieutenant while in America. After 1772, Lieutenant Colonel John Wilkins’s company was similarly commanded by a lieutenant. Several subalterns commanded detachments of nearly company size for long stretches of time at Kaskaskia, Illinois. George Bewes Figure 4.1 George Bewes’s coat of arms. Courtesy of Ryan Gale George Bewes (ca. 1747–16 January 1782) was the son of George Warmington Bewes and Susanna Kelly of St. Stephen by Launceston in Cornwall.1 He had two sisters, Susanna and Elizabeth.2 His father died in late 1767, leaving him as the executor of an estate that included a wide range of properties.3 The family seems to have been connected to the Duke of Bedford.  l i e ute nant s Bewes joined the Royal Irish on 10 April 1769 as an ensign when he was approximately twenty-two years old, so he was getting a late start in his career. He was assigned to Johnson’s company, which was stationed at Fort Pitt. Bewes was still listed as an ensign at Fort Pitt in Johnson’s company in April 1772 by Lieutenant Colonel Wilkins. However, he had actually purchased his lieutenancy on 27 February 1772, but news did not travel quickly from Illinois to Fort Pitt to London.4 He had sold his ensigncy to Edward Hand. Bewes was transferred to the grenadier company by 24 October 1772, when the Royal Irish reorganized after returning from Illinois and Fort Pitt. Bewes was a signatory of the February 1773 letter to Colonel John Sebright asking for his intervention with Wilkins (see chapter 2). Bewes appears to have left for the recruiting service in England before April 1773, because he did not sign the second letter to Sebright. He was listed as being on recruiting service on the July 1773 muster and remained on recruiting service through at least July1774. Since he was not present in Philadelphia,he was removed from the grenadier company and assigned to one of the companies in Illinois, although he was not present in Illinois.5 Bewes returned to the regiment by late 1774 and was placed back in the grenadier company.He most likely was engaged with the grenadiers at Bunker Hill and survived the battle unscathed.When the grenadiers were mustered on 7 October 1775 at Charles Town Heights, he was present. Bewes returned to England with the cadre of the regiment in December 1775 and retained his position with the grenadiers when the regiment was reorganized in England.He was listed as being on recruiting service inAugust 1776. In March 1777, he was present in command of the grenadier company at Dover Castle in Kent;the other officers were on recruiting duty at the time. Bewes purchased Captain Hugh Lord’s commission on 14 July 1777 and took command of one of the battalion companies at that point. He sat on the court-martial board at Coxheath Camp on 31 August 1778 to try Private Bryan Sheridan of the Royal Irish for desertion. Sheridan was found guilty and sentenced to be shot to death.6 Bewes was present with his company at Warley Camp when it was inspected in August 1779. In March 1780, he and his company were posted as a single company garrison atTring in western Hertfordshire. He appears to have been with the regiment when it was ordered to London to support the civil powers in putting down the Gordon Riots in June 1780. Bewes was with the regiment at Finchley Camp when it was mustered in October 1780.In February 1781,he was with the regiment when it was  Protecting the Empire’s Frontier posted outside London. He embarked with the regiment to the Channel Islands and was present with his company in October 1781. He appeared in returns for the last time in March...


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Subject Headings

  • Great Britain. Army. Regiment of Foot, 18th (Royal Irish) -- History -- 18th century.
  • Great Britain. Army. Regiment of Foot, 18th (Royal Irish) -- Officers -- Biography.
  • Great Britain. Army -- History -- Revolution, 1775-1783.
  • United States -- History -- Revolution, 1775-1783 -- British forces.
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