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"Info on 16th Regiment of Foot Lights" Topic

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Militia Pete22 Jun 2021 6:28 p.m. PST

Hi Folks,
Been awhile. Looking if anyone has some knowledge about the 1th Regiment of Foot's lights. Looks like they were broken off of the FL detachment that eventually got captured by the Spanish. These guys ended up under Cornwallis and eventually surrendered at Yorktown. Looking for good sources (can't even find who their commander was!!) Any info would be mucho appreciated.

Bill N22 Jun 2021 9:46 p.m. PST

Off the top of my head 3 companies of the 16th including the light company accompanied Prevost in his march north to invade Georgia. They participated in Prevost's attack on Charleston and then the Siege of Savannah. In 1780 they joined Clinton for the Siege of Charleston. Afterwards the light company joined up with the two light companies of the 71st. They were largely destroyed at Tarleton's defeat at Cowpens.

This website mostly covers the rest of the 16th which participated in actions in West Florida in 1779-1781

42flanker23 Jun 2021 3:43 a.m. PST

As Biil said. A few details from some ancient notes .In January 1779 three coys of the 16th under Major Colin Graham marched to Georgia with Prevost as part of the 'Florida brigade.' At Savannah, a light corps was formed under Graham consisting of the light coys of 16th, 60th & 71st, plus a handful of 16th battalion men and formed part of the garrison of Savannah during the siege of Sept-Oct 1779.

In April 1780 ‘Graham's Light Infantry' consisting of the 16th and 60th light coys join Clinton's army besieging Charleston.

At the battle of Camden in August 1780, there were 78 men of the 16th Regt's light company under Lieutenant Skinner. By January 1781, there were only 40-odd men of the 16th as part of the light infantry battalion with Tarleton who were captured at the Cowpens. Elsewhere, in May 1781 many 16th battalion men were surrendered to the Spanish with the rest of the British garrison at Pensacola. A remnant were sent back to Charleston and subsequently drafted. The regimental cadre were sent back to Britain to reform.

On a happier note, my gggg-father, commissioned Lieutenant in the 16th in September 1778, from 1780 was on the QMG staff at Charleston and remained there till December 1782 when with two other men of the 16th, he made it back to New York. He sailed home, joined the remnants of the 16th in Dover and after brief spell of recruiting, was promoted Captain in the 46th, took half pay, went home to Scotland and married his sweetheart.

Phatt Rhatt23 Jun 2021 7:28 a.m. PST

The end of the 16th's career in the South was foretold by Cornwallis, in a
letter to Sir Henry Clinton on 6 August 1780. "As Major Graham's Corps grew
very weak, & was very unequally composed, some of the men of the 16th being
totally unfit for Light Infantry, and as the Major himself is not in a good
state of Health, I thought it best to break up this Corps; The 71st I shall
send to their Regiment, except as many as will complete those already with
Tarleton to a Troop of 70; The Provincials will likewise join their respective
Corps, & the detachment of the 16th, consisting of about 60 men will be
attached to the Field Artillery, except 17, or 18, who are represented to me
to be active young men, and whom I intend at present to lend to Tarleton."
Source: PRO, Headquarters Papers, PRO 30/55/2949.

Cornwallis to Rawdon
December 13, 1780
Cornwallis Papers, Vol III pg 208-209
The detachment of the 16th serving with the guns are quite naked. McLeod means to get those from Camden and to send to you those of your regiment. If you can procure any clothes for them for an order to receive theirs at Charleston or think of any means of covering those poor people, it will be great charity.

Cornwallis to Clinton
December 3, 1780
Cornwallis Papers, Vol III pg 24-27
Lt. Colonel Tarleton commends much the good behavior of the officers and men under his command and he particularly mentions Lieutenant Skinner of the the 16th Regiment of Infantry, who does duty with the Legion, as having distinguished himself. (Battle of Blackstock's)

Bill N23 Jun 2021 8:26 a.m. PST

Good stuff Phatt. Thanks for the family bit 42.

Militia Pete23 Jun 2021 4:47 p.m. PST

Yes, good stuff. I saw a slight bit in Babbitts Devil of a Whipping but this info is great. I know TMP folks could come through.

42flanker24 Jun 2021 10:33 a.m. PST

'Southern Strategy' David K. Wilson, has Orbats too.

For an general overview -
C.T.Atkinson,'British Forces in North America, 1774-1781: Their distribution and strength' (Journal of Society for Army Historical Research, Vol XVI No. 61 1937 pp3-23)

Available for free here. (Registration required. Highly recommmended)

Personal logo SHaT1984 Supporting Member of TMP25 Jun 2021 2:38 p.m. PST

>>16th Regiment of Foot Lights

And all I could think about was a troop of actors being press-ganged into service…. tsktsk bad man….

42flanker26 Jun 2021 1:43 a.m. PST

Why 'press ganged?' There was a strong vein of theatricality identifiable in British army culture, perhaps expressed most extravagantly in the Meschianza when in May 1778 the officers in Philadelphia paid respects and bad farewell to Sir William Howe, the outgoing c-in-c.

And of course, there was 'Gentleman' Johnny Burgoyne the playwright.

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