8: Other Officers Associated with the Royal Irish in America
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 8Other Officers Associated with the Royal Irish in America Included in this chapter are those officers who, though not commissioned in the Royal Irish Regiment, spent a significant period in close association with it.The artillery officer, Robert Douglas, who was assigned to Fort Chartres in Illinois is included, along with James Rumsey, a former highland officer who served as a military secretary for the Royal Irish but was denied a commission in the regiment. Most of these officers are from the 65th Regiment of Foot who served in an ad hoc battalion with a detachment of the Royal Irish in Boston during the winter and spring of 1774–1775.Reviewing their careers provides an easy comparison to the officers of the Royal Irish. John Bailey John Bailey (ca. 1751–?) was appointed as an ensign in the 65th Foot on 16 August 1768. He was seventeen years old when first commissioned and was listed as Irish in the returns, sometimes as Baillie or Baylie. He was assigned to Captain John MacKay’s company in Boston on 16 December 1774, at the same time that Lieutenant Jonas Watson was assigned to George Sinclair’s company. These two officers were probably sent to Boston from Halifax, since the 65th Foot’s companies in Boston appear to have been short of officers. Bailey served on a regimental court-martial on 19 December 1774, as his first identified duty in the Royal Irish’s orderly book. He served with Captain Sinclair and Lieutenant George Bruere and was promoted to lieutenant on 18 June 1775 in the aftermath of Bunker Hill. He became the captain lieutenant of the 65th Foot on 22 December 1779 and ended his career by transferring into half pay in the 105th Foot on 15 April 1785.1  Protecting the Empire’s Frontier Thomas Bruce The HonourableThomas Bruce (ca. 1740–12 December 1797) is included in this collection because of his command of the combined detachments of the Royal Irish and 65th Regiments of Foot at Boston from the fall of 1774 through June 1775. He was Scottish, the second son of William Bruce, the eighth Earl of Kincardine, and Jane Robertson. Bruce was first commissioned at the age of nineteen as a cornet in the 1st Dragoons on 19 July 1759. He was promoted to captain on 21 October 1761 in the 2nd Battalion of the 105th Regiment of Foot, which was newly raised at that time. He was promoted to major on 13 January 1763 but was put on half pay when the battalion was disbanded later that year.He returned to active service with the 60th (Royal American) Regiment on 27 May 1768 and became the lieutenant colonel of the 65th Foot on 16 March 1770.2 It is unclear exactly when Bruce arrived inAmerica,since the 65th Foot had been sent there in 1768,before his appointment.He was in America by April 1773, however, because Thomas Gage wrote to Lord Barrington to ask him to send MajorWilliam Butler back toAmerica so Bruce could take leave. Bruce was waiting for Butler to return from England. It is not clear whether Bruce ever had the opportunity for his leave. By late 1774, he was in Boston along with two companies of the 65th Foot. However, his own company was not present at Boston but remained at Halifax.3 Bruce pardoned SergeantWilliamWilliams of the Royal Irish’s grenadier company in November 1774 when Williams had been sentenced to be reduced by a regimental court. On 11 January 1775, Bruce ordered, “Col. Bruce pardons all Prisoners which was reported to him this morning , hoping that this lenity will be an inducement for the Men to behave well,as he is determined not to overlook any Crime they may be guilty of in future.”4 In general,however,the punishments meted out by regimental courts under Bruce were particularly harsh. He served as a member of the court-martial board that heard the case of Captain Payne in July and August 1775.5 Bruce served as the field officer of the lines in Boston on 16 October 1775.On 25 October,he was the field officer of the day.He served in both roles multiple times while in Boston. He was ordered to take command of the detachment at Charleston, South Carolina, on 8 February 1776, to be composed of the 47th and 63rd Regiments of Foot, Clerk’s light infantry battalion, and the 1st Battalion of Marines. His detachment was...


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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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