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"Forgotten? : Black Soldiers in the Battle of Waterloo" Topic

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Tango01 Supporting Member of TMP14 Aug 2019 8:27 p.m. PST

"…"If Black British colonial troops have been long neglected by historians, the existence of any narrative around Black British soldiers enlisting in the United Kingdom in the Napoleonic Wars is even less known. Black soldiers based in the United Kingdom would seem to have been a component of the British army for a very long time and there is some evidence to suggest that the British Army actively sought black soldiers during the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries.

"Individual Black soldiers are known to have taken part in many of the Napoleonic war campaigns, including the Battle of Toulouse, the Peninsular War, Quatre Bra, and the final battle to defeat the French Emperor Napoleon at Waterloo in June 1815…."
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Who has used black soldiers in your Waterloo wargame? (smile)


Personal logo deadhead Supporting Member of TMP15 Aug 2019 12:20 a.m. PST

Funniest thing is that special mention goes to the 88th of Foot, the Connaught Rangers. Not too many black folk in the West of Ireland back then, but it does show the diversity in any "British" regiment. Wish we knew what the lecturer actually said in 2015, this is just the intro to it.

I could imagine even more on the other side of the field too.

42flanker15 Aug 2019 2:17 a.m. PST

The Black Watch claimed their 'black soldier' from the Napoleonic wars. In fact George Rose, a Jamaican, enlisted in the 73rd Regiment in 1809 aged about 22, was wounded at Waterloo and had reached the rank of Serjeant when discharged in 1837, 'an efficient, trustworthy and sober soldier.'

The 73rd (formed from the 2nd Bn 42nd RHR in 1786) was, as a result of the Childers reforms, later incorporated as 2nd Bn The Black Watch in 1881.

In the lamented 'Road to Waterloo' exhibition at the National Army Museum from the 1990s, a lifesize model of Rose, designed by Gerry Embleton IIRC, greeted visitors at the entrance, depicting Private Rose sitting exhausted by the roadside.

An interesting fact I didnt know was that, apparently, slaves enlisting in the British army whether the West India corps or Line regiments, were immediately enfranchised. Not quite sure how that worked but interesting if true.

More here:

BillyNM15 Aug 2019 8:47 a.m. PST

No reason why the 88th wouldn't have black soldiers as very few regiments recruited solely from their supposed home location.
The continued 'discovery' of ethnic minorities scattered around the globe throughout history is getting a bit stale these days – did anyone really believe that armies were ever 100% ethnically homogenous?

Aethelflaeda was framed15 Aug 2019 9:32 a.m. PST

I still hear it from some Viking afficiandos. Despite all those raids on Moorish Spain and North Africa.

Tango01 Supporting Member of TMP15 Aug 2019 10:45 a.m. PST

There were a Napoleon's favorite black trumpet soldier… but I don't remember his name…


42flanker15 Aug 2019 11:03 a.m. PST

Rustum, the mamluk?

Lilian15 Aug 2019 3:03 p.m. PST

black…it would be difficult for a Georgian-Armenian, by night perhaps

there is the famous Joseph Domingue "Hercule" born in Cuba, starting as drummer in the French Army but was officer under Napoleon…

Tango01 Supporting Member of TMP16 Aug 2019 10:34 a.m. PST

No… no Rustam… Lilian is right!…thanks!


Aethelflaeda was framed16 Aug 2019 11:59 a.m. PST

Dumas' father was a General in the Napoleonic period. Iirc At least half black, a creole . Josephine herself was creole

42flanker16 Aug 2019 1:13 p.m. PST

Didn't 'creole' in those days mean something different; 'born in the colonies', rather than of mixed race?

4th Cuirassier16 Aug 2019 1:30 p.m. PST

@ 42flanker

Yes it did. It meant of European descent, but not born in Europe.

At what point contemporary Americans were no longer regarded as technical creoles I couldn't say.

Aethelflaeda was framed16 Aug 2019 2:28 p.m. PST

I think in French colonies it always meant mixed race. It certainly does in New Orleans. Mulattos, octoroons and quadroons all had special distinctions that granted them a bit of prestige above slaves.

Aethelflaeda was framed16 Aug 2019 2:38 p.m. PST


Creole people are ethnic groups which originated during the colonial-era from racial mixing between Europeans and non-European peoples, known as creolisation. Creole peoples vary widely in ethnic background and mixture, and many have since developed distinct ethnic identities. The development of creole languages is sometimes mistakenly attributed to the emergence of creole ethnic identities; however, they are independent developments.

Tango01 Supporting Member of TMP17 Aug 2019 10:57 a.m. PST

Créole is similar to "Criollo"… an European born in America… not to be for sure a mixed race… I'm a Créole and have four European born grandparents (smile)

Josephine was white as cotton… Napoleon was more dark skin than her…


Lilian17 Aug 2019 1:01 p.m. PST

Indeed I am also quite disagree with wikipedia who seems to give here only the modern meaning

in Louisiana it was the same than in the others French colonies and as in Spanish America

Joséphine was créole, as Pierre Gustave Toutant de Beauregard, as Brad Pitt and Tom Cruise in Interview with a Vampire and etc…

Toussaint Louverture, Henri Christophe and Jean-Jacques Dessalines were all but créoles, even if, living in the XXth century, they would be certainly named like that

a créole is basically a white European born overseas despite it has a totally different meaning today

the General Dumas is not a créole but a mulatto, as in Spanish America there were many divisions and names as "mamlukes" "quarterons" etc…to categorize people according to their origins but not all the sames between French America and Spanish America and even between two French colonies, there were x number of shades of "races"

Aethelflaeda was framed19 Aug 2019 10:07 a.m. PST

Have any sources to cite for the older meaning? Not being snarky here.

42flanker19 Aug 2019 2:02 p.m. PST

créole adj. et n.

Se dit d'une personne blanche née dans les anciennes colonies… (Larousse)

criollo, -lla

Del port. crioulo, y este der. de criar 'criar'.

1. adj. Dicho de una persona: Hija o descendiente de europeos, nacida en los antiguos territorios españoles de América o en algunas colonias europeas de dicho continente.

(Real Academia Española)

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