The Fifty-Sixth Regiment (1811-1820) First Battalion

1811

In March, 1811, the party from Goa joined the head-quarters of the first battalion at Bellary; and towards the close of the year, Lieut-Colonel Keating returned with the detachment from the capture of Bourbon and the Mauritius. Lawrwence joined the 56th Regiment of Foot; 26 August 1811 from the 33rd Regiment of Foot [1] and joined the 1st Battalion at Bombay, although he appears to have been attached to the 2nd, hence he appears in muster rolls for both battalions, entries from the 1st Battalion muster roll are shown in bold

Oct 1811 - Bombay  : Lawrence not joined[3]
Nov 1811 - Bellary : No entry [2]

Nov 1811 - Bombay  : Absent without leave[3]
Dec 1811 - Bellary : No entry [2]
Dec 1811 - Bombay  : Absent without leave[3]

1812

Lawrence was attached to the 2nd Battalion (Bengal Directory 1813).

The First Battalion left Bellary, and in September joined the field-force assembled in the southern Mahratta country, under the command of Colonel Dowse, of the East India Company's Service, for the purpose of enforcing the payment of the arrears of the customary tribute, withheld by the Ranee of Rairee (Raigarh); and took part in all the operations.

Second Battalion: In May, 1812, Lieut-Colonel Kingscote arrived from England, and took the command of the second battalion; which, in October, marched from the town barracks, Bombay, to the pendals on the island of Colabah (Colaba) . (Pendals are a large tent like structure)

Jan 1812 - Bellary : No entry [4]
Jan 1812 - Bombay  : Absent without leave[5]
Feb 1812 - Bellary : No entry [4]

Feb 1812 - Bombay  : Absent without leave[5]
Mar 1812 - Bellary : No entry [4]
Mar 1812 - Bombay  : Absent without leave[5]
Apr 1812 - Bellary : No entry [4]
Apr 1812 - Bombay  : Absent without leave[5]
May 1812 - Bellary : No entry [4]

May 1812 - Bombay  : Absent without leave[5]
Jun 1812 - Bellary : No entry [4]
Jun 1812 - Bombay  : Absent without leave[5]
Jul 1812 - Bellary : No entry [4]
Jul 1812 - Bombay  : No entry - present ?[5]
Aug 1812 - Bellary : No entry [4]

Aug 1812 - Bombay  : No entry - present ?[]
Sep 1812 - Camp at Allaoonoly : No entry [4]
Sep 1812 - Bombay  : No entry - present ?[5]
Oct 1812 - Camp at Moothee : No entry [4]
Oct 1812 - Bombay  : No entry - present ?[5]
Nov 1812 - Camp at Sangoulie : No entry [4]

Nov 1812 - Bombay  : No entry - present ?[5]
Dec 1812 - Camp at Coodoorinhutty : attached for 2nd Battalion [4]
Dec 1812 - Bombay  : No entry - present ?[5]

1813

The first battalion formed part of the force assembled at Goute, from whence it proceeded against Canool, were it arrived on the 25th of December, and batteries were erected during the night, but a flag of truce being sent out on the following morning, hostilities ceased. The battalion was also at the reduction of the fort of Rairee (Raigarh), Goosecull; and passed the monsoon in quarters 1814 at Cataubaugy; afterwards returning to Goute, it was relieved in the field by the second battalion of the Royals ; it had lost three hundred and fifty men from disease, and was so reduced, that it was ordered to return to Bellary; it subsequently marched to Fort St. George, Madras.


Jan 1813 - Camp at Yercoudy : Sick certificate; attached from 2nd Battalion [6]
Jan 1813 - Bombay  : Lawrence with 1st Battalion[7]
Feb 1813 - Camp at Maritiall : With Leave Sick certificate; attached from 2nd Battalion [6]
Feb 1813 - Bombay  : Lawrence with 1st Battalion[7]
Mar 1813 - Camp at Maritiall : With Leave Sick certificate; attached from 2nd Battalion [6]
Mar 1813 - Bombay  : Lawrence with 1st Battalion[7]

Apr 1813 - Camp at Rahnie : On command; attached from 2nd Battalion [6]
Apr 1813 - Domus nr Surat : Lawrence with 1st Battalion[7]
May 1813 - Camp at Santeasie : On command; attached from 2nd Battalion [6]
May 1813 - Domus nr Surat : Lawrence with 1st Battalion[7]
Jun 1813 - Camp at Calabaugy : Sick quarters; attached from 2nd Battalion [6]
Jun 1813 - Domus nr Surat : Lawrence with 1st Battalion[7]

Jul 1813 - Camp at Calabaugy : On duty; attached from 2nd Battalion [6]
Jul 1813 - Domus nr Surat : Lawrence with 1st Battalion[7]
Aug 1813 - Camp at Calabaugy : Sick Certificate; attached from 2nd Battalion [6]
Aug 1813 - Domus nr Surat : Lawrence with 1st Battalion[7]
Sep 1813 - Camp at Calabaugy : Sick Certificate; attached from 2nd Battalion [6]
Sep 1813 - Domus nr Surat : Lawrence with 1st Battalion[7]

Oct 1813 - Camp at Badciaul : Sick Certificate; attached from 2nd Battalion [6]
Oct 1813 - Domus nr Surat : Lawrence with 1st Battalion[7]
Nov 1813 - Bellary : Sick Certificate; attached from 2nd Battalion [6]
Nov 1813 - Domus nr Surat : Lawrence with 1st Battalion[7]
Dec 1813 - Yildoorty: On command at Bellary; attached from 2nd Battalion [6]
Dec 1813 - Domus nr Surat : Lawrence with 1st Battalion[7]

1814

In January he was on Command in Bellary

Feb 1814 - Bellary : Sick Certificate; attached from 2nd Battalion [8]
Mar 1814 - Fort St George : Sick Certificate; attached from 2nd Battalion [8]
Apr 1814 - Fort St George : Present; attached from 2nd Battalion [8]
May 1814 - Fort St George : Present; attached from 2nd Battalion [8]

Jun 1814 - Fort St George : Present; attached from 2nd Battalion [8]
Jul 1814 - Fort St George : Sick Quarters; attached from 2nd Battalion [8]
Aug 1814 - Fort St George : Sick Quarters; attached from 2nd Battalion [8]
Sep 1814 - Fort St George : Present; attached from 2nd Battalion [8]
Oct 1814 - Fort St George : Sick Certificate; attached from 2nd Battalion [8]
Nov 1814 - Fort St George : Present; attached from 2nd Battalion [8]

Dec 1814 - Fort St George : On duty; attached from 2nd Battalion [8]

1815

The sudden return of Bonaparte to France, was followed by a revolt on the part of the French settlers in Mauritius, and the first battalion which had been joined by three hundred men from the disbanded third battalion, embarked on board the Salsette frigate, and the company's ship Rose and Streatham, to reinforce the garrison. During the voyage the ships were separated by a violent hurricane, and each supposed the other lost; but they arrived safe at Port Louis, where they were stationed until November, when they marched to Mahebourg. It appears that Lawrence then returned to Madras in charge of invalids.

Jan 1815 - Fort St George : On duty; attached from 2nd Battalion [9]
Feb 1815 - Fort St George : On duty; attached from 2nd Battalion [9]
Mar 1815 - Fort St George : Present; attached from 2nd Battalion [9]

Apr 1815 - Fort St George : With Leave at St Thome, Madras; attached from 2nd Battalion [9]
May 1815 - Fort St George : With Leave at St Thome, Madras; attached from 2nd Battalion [9]
Jun 1815 - Fort St George : With Leave at St Thome, Madras; attached from 2nd Battalion [9]
Jul 1815 - Fort St George : Sick-inactive; attached from 2nd Battalion [9]
Aug 1815 - Port Louis, Mauritius : Present; attached from 2nd Battalion [9]
Sep 1815 - Port Louis, Mauritius : on duty; attached from 2nd Battalion [9]

Oct 1815 - Port Louis, Mauritius : on duty; attached from 2nd Battalion [9]
Nov 1815 - Mahebourg, Mauritius : on duty; attached from 2nd Battalion [9]
Dec 1815 - Madras : in charge of invalids; attached from 2nd Battalion [9]

1816

In August the first battalion returned to Port St. Louis; and about a month afterwards the whole town went up in flames; but this calamity was (according to Cannon) "averted by the efforts of the soldiers of the Fifty-Sixth, who prevented "the fire communicating to the government buildings, and thus saved the town". There is a reference to him from the Muster Rolls of the 2nd Battalion (now in Chatham) that he is on duty with the 1st Battalion.

Apr 1816 - On duty; with the 1st Battalion [13]

1817

Cannon records that the regiment left Port Louis on the 1st of March, for Flacq, and in July to Mahebourg, where it received the colours of the late second battalion. It was employed in patrolling and other duties for the suppression of the slave trade.

We know from the pay lists that he was in Flacq in April and July of 1817, as he signed for 280 on account for pay and additional allowances for the non-commissioned officers etc.

Apr 1817 - Flacq; Mauritius  [10]
Jul 1817 - Flacq; Mauritius  [10]

1818

The regiment was in Flacq.

1819

In July, 1819, the regiment returned to Port Louis. The muster roll shows that from August 1819 he was on leave, described as "General Darling's leave to 27th May 1821". and he was promoted to Brevet Major, effective from 12th Aug. 1819.

Aug 1819 - Major General Darling's leave to 27th May 1821  [11] [14]
Dec 1819 - Major General Darling's leave to 27th May 1821  [12] [14] 

1820

The regiment was stationed successively at Port Louis and Mahebourg until 1826, when, after upwards of twenty years' service abroad, it embarked at Port Louis for England. Lawrence retired 1822.



Outline of the movements of the 56th Regiment (1811-1826)

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1811: Bellory
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1812: Bombay, Bellary, Colaba
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1813: Surat, Guzerat
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1814: Goosecull, Bombay, Colaba, Madras
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1815: Assaye, Jaulma, Madras, Mahebourg (Mauritius), Poonah, 
      Port Louis (Mauritius)
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1816: Bombay, Jaulna, Nimgaum, Peera River, Poona, Port 
      Louis (Mauritius)
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1817: Flacq, Mahebourg, Port Louis (all in Mauritius)
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1819, Port Lewis (Mauritius)
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1820 - 1826: Mahebourg, Port Louis (both in Mauritius)
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Information on the location of the regiments was extracted 
from In Search of the Forlorn Hope: A Comprehensive Guide 
to Locating British Regiments and Their Records (1640 to 
WWI) by John M. Kitzmiller (1988).

Whilst the source material is mostly from the Muster Rolls The Historical Record of the Fifty-sixth (Or the West Essex Regiment of Foot) by Richard Cannon (pub. 1844) has been an invaluable point of reference with some additions to clarify spelling especially of place names.

[1] Source: London Gazette Issue 16581 published on the 7 March 1812. "Captain L O'Hara from the 33d Foot, to be Captain of a Company, vice Colclough, who exchanges"

[2] Source: PRO - Commissary General of Musters Office and successors: General Muster Books and Pay Lists: 56th Foot 1st Battalion WO12/6556 (1811)

[3] Source: PRO - Commissary General of Musters Office and successors: General Muster Books and Pay Lists: 56th Foot 2nd Battalion WO12/6625 (1811)

[4] Source: PRO - Commissary General of Musters Office and successors: General Muster Books and Pay Lists: 56th Foot 1st Battalion WO12/6557 (1812)

[5] Source: PRO - Commissary General of Musters Office and successors: General Muster Books and Pay Lists: 56th Foot 2nd Battalion WO12/6626 (1812)

[6] Source: PRO - Commissary General of Musters Office and successors: General Muster Books and Pay Lists: 56th Foot 1st Battalion WO12/6558 (1813)

[7] Source: PRO - Commissary General of Musters Office and successors: General Muster Books and Pay Lists: 56th Foot 2nd Battalion WO12/6627 (1813)

[8] Source: PRO - Commissary General of Musters Office and successors: General Muster Books and Pay Lists: 56th Foot 1st Battalion WO12/6559 (1814)

[9] Source: PRO - Commissary General of Musters Office and successors: General Muster Books and Pay Lists: 56th Foot 1st Battalion WO12/6560 (1815)

[10] Source: PRO - Commissary General of Musters Office and successors: General Muster Books and Pay Lists: 56th Foot 1st Battalion WO12/6561 (1816-17)

[11] Source: PRO - Commissary General of Musters Office and successors: General Muster Books and Pay Lists: 56th Foot 1st Battalion WO12/6562 (1818-19)

[12] Source: PRO - Commissary General of Musters Office and successors: General Muster Books and Pay Lists: 56th Foot 1st Battalion WO12/6563 (1819-20)

[13] Source: PRO - Commissary General of Musters Office and successors: General Muster Books and Pay Lists: 56th Foot 2nd Battalion WO12/6630 (1816)

[14] Source: The Royal military calendar, or Army service and commission book edited by John Philippart (1820): "In 1819 Major General Darling was appointed to the head of the Staff of the Isle of France and where he continues entirely engaged in suppressing that nefarious traffic in slaves which has been so long notorious in the Mauritius. Major General Darling is a member of the Consolidated Board of General Officers one of the Commissioners of the Royal Military College and of the Royal Military Asylum"