Date added: 9 Jun 2015
Private James Abbey
"A very pretty little Battalion"
Private James Abbey was a noble soldier who fought in the Battle of Waterloo. He was born in Grays, Essex, 1794 and he fought in the 3rd Battalion, 14th Regiment of foot. He fought in Company Number 8, in Captain John Loraine White's Company. This Battalion was a very strong one however it was made up of young adults and boys. The majority of fighters in this Battalion would have been under 20 and this Battalion was originally known as "The Peasants."Private James Abbey does not have any known records however this Battalion was particularly famous.
The 3rd Battalion, 14th Regiment would have consisted over 300 men. It was the second-last Battalion to be formed before the peace of April 1814. Also it was the only British third Battalion to fight in the Waterloo campaign. An Ensign from this Battalion, George Keppell, was gazetted into the 14th Regiment on the 4th of April, 1815. He said,"The third Battalion of the 14th foot, which I now joined, was one which in ordinary times would not have been cosidered fit to be sent on a foreign service at all, much less an enemy in the field. Fourteen of the officers and three-hundred of the men were under twenty years of age."This mean that the Regiment was, at that time, made up of so many boys and young men under twenty years of age, that it would not have been allowed.
At the start of April the Battalion landed at Ostend. The 3rd Battalion, 14th Regiment was shown with monthly returns to be the strength of the field army at Flanders. The Battalion had a total strength of 585 other ranks (Corporals and Privates); 22 were sick and 9 were on command on the 25th of April.
This Battalion was one to shock many, once a group of young boys had transformed into a strong Battalion ready to fight. The Battalion once was inspected, early in May, 1815 by the aged Major-General Kenneth Mackenzie and after one look at the boys he cried out, "Well, I never saw such a set of boys, both officers and men."When the Duke of Wellington once arrived in Brussels from Vienna Lord Hill went to greet him. The two stood by the window watching the 3rd Battalion doing routine drills by the square, "They are a very pretty little Battalion,"Wellington exclaimed,"Tell them they may join the grand division as they wish."
On the morning of June 18th, the Battalion stood two-thirds full; over-burdened with teenaged Ensigns but lacking in Captains and Lieutenants. All together the Battalion stood strong with 645 men.
Private James Abbey was fighting in the Company of Captain John Loraine White. Captain J.L White survived the battle of Waterloo as he died in 1879 at the age of 90. There are no recorded times of death for Private James Abbey however there are no reported deaths for those in Company with Captain J.L White so Private James Abbey did not die in the battle of Waterloo. I have learnt alot about this amazing Battalion and how much they have contributed to the success of this battle and I would like to thank every brave soldier who has ever fought...