1 Jan 1766 - 7 Mar 1848
Date added: 23 Apr 2015
The 2nd Battalion 69th South Lincolnshire Regiment of Foot was very inexperienced in combat when they arrived at Waterloo. Of their number 159 or nearly 30% was underage, that is to say, under 18.
Issac Pierson, Armoury Sergeant and drummer for the battalion was the oldest man in the battalion, at the age of 47. The role of the drummer was not confined to keeping time for marching. He was required to carry out the ferocious discipline of the British Army of the day. As TH Mc Guffie explained in an article for History Today "Flogging was almost universal, up to 800 or 900 lashes being inflicted; 400 could be awarded for being absent from guard. Sir John Moore, a notably humane commander, once had a man die on him after a mere 229 strokes. Inflicted by drummers, changed at every 25 strokes to maintain proper severity, punishment was given by a cat-o’-nine-tails, on the bare back of the culprit, who was tied to a triangle of halberds, with a fourth across at shoulder height to extend the arms."
Our Sergeant Pierson was a native of Nottinghamshire, he joined the Nottingham Fencibles regiment in 1795. While here he was commanded by Col James O'Connor, who later served in Ireland. O'Connor would leave the army at the same time as Pierson.
Later joining the 69th, his company at Waterloo suffered 12 causalities, 7 wounded and 5 died. He was wounded "in his legs" during the battle, as was 41% of his unit. This number was not particularly unusual.
Pierson left the battalion in 1816 when it was reduced. He would relocate to Essex, where he lived until the age of 63, where he was buried in St Nicholas' Church of England Churchyard, in Harwich near Colchester. The only memorial that remains is on the porch of the church, on a gravestone provided by the Freemasons. It is likely, although not certain, that our Sergeant was himself a mason. His epitaph notes that the Sergeant died a "much respected" member of the community.