The history of the Prince Of Wales' American Regiment is presented in 7 parts. Click below to skip to:
Part 1 - Introduction & From Confinement to Commandant
A History of the Prince Of Wales' American Regiment - Part 6 of 7
After Fort Granby, there was not much left of the regiment to make any sort of impact on the further development of the war. Even before then, the "regiment" was only able to field thirty six rank & file fit for duty in Charlestown at the end of January, out of an effective strength of just two hundred thirty four men.105
Some detachment of the regiment was scraped together to join the flying column under Lord RAWDON to relieve the Siege of Ninety Six in June of 1781 but appear to have done little after that by way of fighting.106
The remainder, on 1 July 1781, would repair to Haddrell's Point at the mouth of Charlestown Harbor to do duty, followed the next month by a march southward that would eventually take them to Beaufort, South Carolina. They would evacuate this post in November of 1781 and spend the next year doing garrison duty on John's and James Islands.107
The regiment continued their days in the South in a contentious and unhealthy state. Their lieutenant colonel, Thomas PATTINSON, had not actively been with the regiment since 1780. He had returned to New York, having been under arrest at the time of Hanging Rock and in a low state of health.
Given his circumstances, he was apparently allowed to retire upon half pay, and on 14 August 1781, applied for leave to return to England for the recovery of his health, which was approved for the space of six months.108 He applied for an extension of six months further leave in 1782 and may never have returned to America.109
To replace him, Sir Henry CLINTON placed Lt. Col. Stephen DeLANCEY in charge of the regiment, effective 25 April 1781.110 DeLANCEY had served as lieutenant colonel to the 2nd Battalion, DeLANCEY’s Brigade, since 1776, and had served in the South with his unit, but had just then left them in Georgia for leave in New York.111
After two and a half years in Georgia, DeLANCEY had no wish to return to the South, and decided to swap regiments with Lt. Col. Joseph BARTON of the 1st Battalion, New Jersey Volunteers.
BARTON had been fairly humiliated in consecutive courts martial in 1781 and had been at odds with his commanding officer, Brigadier General Cortland SKINNER, for the past two years at least. He served in the NJV until:
"the twenty first of October , One thousand seven hundred & eighty one, when with the approbation of the Commander in Chief, he exchanged with Lieut. Colonel Stephen DeLANCEY, of the Prince of Wales's American Regiment. And lastly from a Representation he made to his Excellency the Commander in Chief of his bad state of health, from an old wound he received last war that his Constitution would undergo great Risque if he served in a warm Climate; he obtained on the fifteenth of January One thousand seven hundred & eighty two his Excellency the Commander in Chief's Permission to resign the Command of the Regiment, and Retire on the List of Seconded Officers."112
Enter lieutenant colonel number four for 1781, Gabriel DeVEBER. DeVEBER was a New Jersey Loyalist who had entered the service in 1778 as major in the West Jersey Volunteers. Upon this corps being drafted in 1778, he became major to Emmerick's Chasseurs early the next year. Upon their being reduced in 1779, he joined the 3rd Battalion, DeLancey's Brigade.
His promotion to the Prince of Wales' American Regiment came on 15 January 1782.113 As of 24 June 1782, he had not left New York and may not have joined the regiment until their return to New York at the end of the year.
Wholesale changes amongst the other officers soon came about.
Lieutenants Matthias ROSS114 and Josiah WHEELER115 died from sickness and fatigue. Major John CARDEN had been very ill since as early as May, 1782, when his death was finally reported in Charlestown on 4 December 1782.116 Even the twenty six year old surgeon's mate, Luke D'EVELIN, succumbed to the climate, passing away on 5 August 1782.117
At least one officer died needlessly. Ensign Robert KEATING was shot dead in the streets of Charlestown by Lieutenant Anthony ALLAIRE of the Loyal American Regiment, as the former was beating the latter with his cane. The incident stemmed from a drunken Saint Patrick's Day, 1781 argument over who would take the bagpiper of the Volunteers of Ireland to serenade whose woman.118
KEATING's widow Ann applied for the bounty awarded to widows of Provincial officers killed in battle and was supported in her claim by Lt. Col. DeVEBER, who almost certainly had never met KEATING or been aware of his situation.119 She appears on the 1783 list of widows, which included Ann HOLDEN, Sarah WHEELER and Rachel OGDEN.120
Another officer left the regiment in disgrace. Lieutenant William CONROY was tried and convicted of neglect of duty, disobedience of orders and being drunk on the regimental parade when the regiment was under arms.121 Others, like Thomas LINDSAY, left for hopefully bigger and better things.
Captain John COLLETT had resigned from the corps in order to raise two troops of Provincial Cavalry at Charlestown, which effort was quickly ended by the new commanding officer in the South, Lt. Gen. Alexander LESLIE. To make matters worse, COLLETT had purchased thirty horses out of his own pocket for his would–be troops, and since he had resigned his commission, he could not receive half–pay during or after the war.122
Ensign Patrick GARRETT had served most of 1781 attached to the 23rd Regiment of Foot, with whom he was taken prisoner at Yorktown.123 Deciding the regulars were for him, he obtained a commission in the 30th Regiment of Foot on 17 April 1783.124
Morale in the rank and file was apparently no better than with the officers. No fewer than fifteen of the men, ten percent of those present in 1782 in South Carolina, deserted to the Rebels. They were mostly men raised in 1776 and 1777, who had served throughout the hard campaigns, and included several reputable sergeants.125
They all seem to have had a common desire— to go home.126 And that is exactly what the regiment did, evacuating Charlestown along with the garrison in December of 1782.127
105 "State of His Majesty's Provincial Forces in the Southern District, Charlestown, December 31st 1780." Clinton Papers, 144:4.
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