King George III Mobilizes Great Britain For War With France by Filling Out Its Best Regiments With New Recruits

He directs the details of the recruiting effort for the 16th Queen's Regiment of Light Dragoons as the Wars of the French Revolution/Napoleonic Wars break out in 1793

“These are to authorize you by beat of drum or otherwise to raise so many men…as shall be wanted to complete the said augmentation. And all magistrates, justices of the peace, constables & other our civil officers…are hereby required to be assisting unto you in providing quarters…& otherwise as there shall be...

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King George III Mobilizes Great Britain For War With France by Filling Out Its Best Regiments With New Recruits

He directs the details of the recruiting effort for the 16th Queen's Regiment of Light Dragoons as the Wars of the French Revolution/Napoleonic Wars break out in 1793

“These are to authorize you by beat of drum or otherwise to raise so many men…as shall be wanted to complete the said augmentation. And all magistrates, justices of the peace, constables & other our civil officers…are hereby required to be assisting unto you in providing quarters…& otherwise as there shall be occasion.”

The 16th Queen’s Regiment of Light Dragoons [cavalry] was first raised by Colonel John Burgoyne in 1759. The regiment was closely involved in what we term the French and Indian War, but in Europe is known as the Seven Year’s War. It undertook several cavalry charges, including in the action leading up to the capture of the French garrison at Belle Ite in April 1761, and made a major contribution to the British victory against the Spaniards at the Battles of Valencia de Alcantara in August 1762. Here Burgoyne commanded the regiment and a mixed brigade of British and Portuguese infantry, and his troops surprised and defeated a numerically superior force capturing the commanding Spanish general, and destroying the Regiment of Seville. On their return to England the 16th Regiment of Light Dragoons found that it had gained a considerable reputation for its exploits. As a result in 1766 the Regiment was designated as a Royal regiment and adopted Queen Charlotte’s name, being styled “16th Queen’s Light Dragoons”. During the American Revolution the 16th Light Dragoons were one of the regiments sent to reinforce the American garrison. The regiment arrived in New York in October 1776 and was in the Battles of White Plains, Brandywine, Germantown, and Monmouth, among others. TIt returned to England in spring 1779, a year after its former commander, Burgoyne, surrendered a British Army to the Americans after the Battle of Saratoga.

The wars that followed the French Revolution broke out in 1792. After French successes, nations whose leaders opposed the Revolution began joining into a coalition against them. Spain and Portugal entered the anti-French coalition in January 1793. Britain expelled the French ambassador following the execution of King Louis XVI on January 21, 1793, and on February 1 France responded by declaring war on Great Britain and the Holland. Great Britain immediately mobilized for war, and an all-out war it would be, lasting until 1815.

William Harcourt, 3rd Earl Harcourt, commanded the 16th Light Dragoons in the American Revolution, and was promoted to colonel in 1777. He became aide-de-camp to King George III in September 1777, and honorary colonel of the 16th Light Dragoons in October 1779. He was promoted to major general in November 1782. Immediately after the French declaration of war on February 1, 1793, his regiment the 16th Light Dragoons was called out for the war, and the first priority was recruiting.

Document signed, Court at St. James, London, February 7, 1793, to “William Harcourt, Esq., Major Genl. in our army and Col. of our 16th or the Queen’s Reg. of Light Dragoons, or to the officer appointed by him to raise men for our said regiment”, directing in detail the recruiting effort, down to specifying a drummer and trumpeter to attract attention. “Whereas We have been pleased to direct that our Regiment of Light Dragoons under your command shall be forthwith augmented with three troops consisting of three sergeants, three corporals, one trumpeter & forty seven private men and horses. These are to authorize you by beat of drum or otherwise to raise so many men…as shall be wanted to complete the said augmentation. And all magistrates, justices of the peace, constables & other our civil officers whom it my concern are hereby required to be assisting unto you in providing quarters, impressing carriages & otherwise as there shall be occasion.”

The 16th Queen’s Regiment of Light Dragoons landed at Ostend in April 1793 for service in the Flanders campaign, and was present at the Siege of Valenciennes in June 1793, and the siege of Dunkirk in August 1793. It also took part in the Battles of Beaumont in April 1794, Willems in May 1794, and Tournay later that month, and saw other action before returning to England in February 1796.

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