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A tribute to Private James Abbey by Harris Academy

Date added: 11 Jun 2015


Harris Academy

Schools Waterloo 200
Dear Family and Friends, As a way remembering those that fought at Waterloo in June 1815 including $personFirstName$, our school has created a page within the $bookTitle$. Please contribute by adding your thoughts, messages, photographs or even videos about this soldier. Add your insight or expertise to help build and lock-in our knowledge about this person, simply go to: $findPersonLink$. and make your contribution too. Thank you,

Harris Academy Chafford Hundred

Private James Abbey -“A Very Pretty Little Battalion.”

By Ambika Bhargava

Private James Abbey was a noble soldier who fought in the battle of Waterloo. He was born in Grays; Essex in 1794 and fought in the 3rd Battalion, 14th regiment of foot Captain John Loraine White’s Company. Waterloo was a defining moment in European history; Waterloo is a village to the south of Brussels in Belgium. It is one of the Napoleonic wars-the battle took place on June 18th, 1815 and was Napoleons last stand. Private James Abbey was one of the brave soldiers to fight in this battle. The 3rd Battalion, 14th Regiment would have consisted of just 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 officially gazetted into the 14th regiment on the 4th of April, 1815.He quoted, “The third Battalion of the 14th foot, which I now joined, was one which in ordinary times would not have been considered 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.”At the start of April the Battalion landed at Ostend. The 3rd Battalion, 14th regiment were shown with monthly returns to be the strength of the field army on the 25th of April in Flanders. The Battalion had a total strength of 585 other ranks made of Corporals and Privates; 22 were sick and 9 on command.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 in early 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 Duke of Wellington once arrived in Brussels from Vienna Lord Hill went to him. The two stood by the window watching the 3rd battalion, 14th regiment doing routine drills by the square and Wellington said, “They are a very pretty little battalion, tell them they may join the Grand Division as they wish.”On the morning of 18th June, the Battalion stood at about two-thirds full, over-burdened with teenaged ensigns but lacking in captains and lieutenants; they had around 2 Majors, 8 Captains, 9 Lieutenants, 15 Ensigns and 557 Corporals and Privates, the total amount of the Battalion stood strong with 645 men. At half-past four in the morning the drummers beat Reveille on Sunday 18th June. When they got out they received an order to shelter behind a neighbouring hill, unfortunately a bullet struck Private John Dorman, knocking a teenaged Ensign down as he fell. The ensign had to walk over the fallen Private and had to resume fighting. Private James Abbey was fighting in the Company of Captain John Loraine White. Captain J.L White survived the battle along with everyone if fought alongside in No.8 Company; including Private James Abbey. Captain J.L White was 26 years old during the battle and was born in Bengal, India. He was a military knight of Windsor and died in 1879 at the age of 90.

Private James Abbey - Virtual Museum (please see the two photos uploaded. 

This is a standard water canteen, it can be used by any rank but private soldiers usually would use it. Private James Abbey would have used this a lot considering he is a Private. The capacity of the canteen was around 1.4 litres which would have hadto last a man a whole day, unless there was a way he could refill it during amarch. Most marches lasted around 55 minutes and gave 5-10 minutes rest toallow a smoke or to fill up your canteen. The canteen has two rimmed woodendisks which was all held together by wooden straps.

This is an English infantry soldiers cap, 1812 pattern. It was bound with black ribbon and was made with beaver felt. Many foot soldiers would have worn this at the Battle of Waterloo. On the front of it there is a brass plate made of gold-coloured metal. Also it has a Japanned leather peak. Later additions were the cockade,the button and the plume. In wet weather it would be protected by an oilskin over to prevent it from losing shape.

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