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"The Redcoats are Coming!: British Troop Movements..." Topic

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485 hits since 11 Aug 2017
©1994-2018 Bill Armintrout
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Tango0111 Aug 2017 11:05 a.m. PST

…to North America in 1814.

"On 6 April 1814, as allied armies closed in on Paris, Napoleon Bonaparte, emperor of the French, abdicated his throne, bringing to an end almost two decades of ceaseless warfare in Europe. A few days later, Lord Bathurst, Colonial Secretary and the British cabinet minister primarily responsible for overseas military strategy, informed Lieutenant General Sir George Prevost, commander of the forces in North America, that he would shortly be receiving massive reinforcements. This was welcome news for Prevost who, for nearly two years, had been trying to defend Britain's Canadian colonies, conscious his was only a secondary theatre and that he could not expect major increases in his strength until the main objective -- the defeat of Napoleon -- had been accomplished. That had come to pass and, over the next eight months, the number of British regular troops in North America would more than double -- from 19,477 to 48,163 officers and men.

In some of the older American histories of the War of 1812, a myth frequently appears about these newcomers to the conflict in America. They are often described as picked troops from Wellington's Peninsular Army, the most successful military force in Europe in the spring of 1814, who crossed the Atlantic to chastise Cousin Jonathan for his perfidy, only to come to grief at Baltimore and New Orleans.

My purpose in writing this article is to lay this hoary old myth to rest be examining British trans-Atlantic troop reinforcements from April to December 1814 with a view to answering three questions…"
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