Tuesday, November 16, 2010

[Dispatches] 14 June 1808

His Royal Highness the Commander in Chief to Lieut. General the Hon. Sir A. Wellesley, K.B.

'Horse Guards, 14th June, 1808.


'His Majesty having been graciously pleased to appoint you to the command of a detachment of his army, to be employed upon a particular service, I have to desire that you will be pleased to take the earliest opportunity to assume the command of this force, and carry into effect such instructions as you may receive from his Majesty's ministers.

' The force, which his Majesty has been pleased to place under your command, consists of the following corps:-

With Major General Spencer
Royal Artillery.
Royal Staff Corps. Detachment
29th Foot.
*32nd Foot lst Battalion
*50th Foot 1st Battalion
*82nd Foot 1st Battalion
To proceed from Cork
*5th Foot 1st Battalion
*9th Foot 1st battalion
*38th Foot 1st Battalion
*40th Foot 1st Battalion
60th Foot 5th Battalion
*71st Foot 1st Battalion
*91st Foot 1st Battalion
95th four companies
4th Royal Vet.Battalion

And the staff appointed to this force is composed as follows - Major General Spencer, Major General Hill, Major General Ferguson, Brig. General Nightingall, Brig. General Fane, Brig. General Catlin Craufurd.

'On all subjects relating to your command, you will be pleased to correspond with me, and you will regularly communicate to me all military transactions, in which you may be engaged, reporting to me all vacancies that may occur in the troops under your command; and as the power of appointing to commissions is not vested in you, you will be pleased to recommend to me such officers as may appear to you most deserving of promotion, stating the special reasons, where such recommendations are not in the usual channel of seniority.

' As the regiments marked thus ( *), under your command, have second battalions attached to them, and which remain in this country, it is necessary that I should acquaint you, that the first battalions under your orders being, composed exclusively of the senior officers of their respective ranks, such vacancies as may occur therein, by promotion or casualty, must unavoidably be supplied by officers from the second battalions, who will be ordered immediately to join, on such vacancies being made known to me.

'Should you have occasion to recommend any gentlemen for an ensigncy, you will be pleased to make known his address, in order that, if his Majesty should be pleased to confirm the recommendation, he may be directed to join the corps immediately on his appointment.

' You will transmit, monthly, returns of the troops under your command, to the Secretary at War, and to the Adjutant General, for my information; and you will strictly adhere to his Majesty's regulations, in regard to the pay, clothing, and appointments of the troops; and your special attention must necessarily be directed to their discipline, and to the interior economy of the different corps, which is so essential, not only to the comfort of the soldier, but to the preservation of his health, under every change of climate to which he may be exposed.

' Under the head of pay, I have to direct your attention to the instructions of the Paymasters General to their deputy, respecting the usual stoppages being deducted from the pay of the several Staff officers, and to which you are requested to give the most punctual attention.

' You wild be vested with the usual powers of convening General Courts Martial, upon which subject 1 have to observe that, as great inconvenience has arisen to the service from officers commanding on foreign stations having permitted prisoners to return to England prior to the proceedings and opinion of the Court Martial having been submitted to the King, I have to request that, in all cases, where any person whatever may be tried by a General Court Martial, and where your powers are not sufficient to enable you to decide finally upon the proceedings, opinion, and sentence of the Court, that you do not permit the prisoner to return to England until his Majesty's commands shall have been duly communicated to you through the proper channel for that purpose.

' I have likewise to acquaint you, that as many General Officers, from the best motives, have taken upon themselves to commute sentences of capital punishment to transportation for a term of years, or for life, when it is found that no such power is delegated by his Majesty, and, consequently, that the whole of the proceedings may be thereby rendered nugatory, it will be necessary that your particular attention should be given to the powers granted to you by his Majesty's warrant on this subject, in order to prevent you from inadvertently falling into a similar irregularity.

' It is particularly desirable that the officer, and the head of the Quarter Master General's staff, should be directed to keep a Journal, or other memorandum, descriptive of the movements of the troops, and occurrences in which they are: engaged; as also, that he should take and collect plans of the harbours, positions, or fortified places, in which the troops may be, for the purpose of being transmitted to me and lodged in the military depôt.

' In all points where any question or doubt may arise, and in which you may be desirous of receiving further and more specific instructions, you will always find me ready to pay the earliest attention to your representations.

I am, &c.

I haven't had any posts on Duty and Honour lately so I figured to start anew with a category detailing the dispatches between Wellington and various people during the Napoleonic Wars, in anticipation to returning to this excellent game.

Hopefully, they will engender some ideas for adventures in an overall Duty and Honour (or extend into a Beat to Quarters) campaign.

This is the first dispatch available and it presents us with a number of interesting items:

  • The forces under Wellington's command,
  • His senior officers,
  • A requirement that commissions are not under his authority to grant,
  • A request for regular reports as well as payment rules, and
  • Rules on court martials.

These bits of information can be used during the game to improve the background, sprinkling in information that will add to the authenticity as well as fun of the game. Heck, even reading out these dispatches at the beginning of each session could add to it.

So be on the lookout for further Dispatches.

I am, &c.

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