Historic Pelham

Presenting the rich history of Pelham, NY in Westchester County: current historical research, descriptions of how to research Pelham history online and genealogy discussions of Pelham families.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Mention of the Battle of Pelham on October 18, 1776 in Writings of Francis Rawdon-Hastings, Aide-de-Camp to British General Clinton

Yesterday I published to the Historic Pelham Blog a brief item entitled "Mention of the Battle of Pelham on October 18, 1776 in Revolutionary War Diary of David How", an American soldier who fought in General Washington's Army. Today's posting provides a British view of the engagement from the writings of Francis Rawdon-Hastings. The entry is described in a book by Paul David Nelson entitled "Francis Rawdon-Hastings, Marquess of Hastings: Soldier, Peer of the Realm, Governor-General of India". The pertinent excerpt is quoted below.

""Rawdon as usual was serving as General Clinton's aide-de-camp in all these operations. On October 12, he and Clinton had embarked with their comrades on flat-bottomed boats and 'with a good deal of risk' passed through Hell's Gate in a thick fog. Emerging into Long Island Sound, 'we landed at Frog's [Throg's] Point,' but being 'disappointed in our expectations of getting forwards into the country by a bridge being broken down by the rebels, we were again obliged to embark, and landed with little difficulty at Pell's Point.'

As the British advanced, Hastings wrote, 'the 1st Battalion of light infantry,' on October 18, in the battle of Pelham Bay, 'had a smart brush with two or three battalions of rebels, whom we dispersed, but not without the loss of thirty men and some officers.' One of the wounded was Rawdon's cousin, Charles Hastings, the natural son of Lord Huntingdon. In America, Rawdon had gotten his cousin 'placed with the light company of the Welsh Fusileers, [which] was in the hottest part of this action.' Huntingdon would be pleased to know that Charles Hastings had 'behaved as you could wish him.' The young man was 'much approved of by the officers commanding the battalion and exceedingly liked by the rest of the officers. Don't be surprised that he does not write to you, for I assure you it is not in his power.' 14"

Source: Nelson, Paul David, Francis Rawdon-Hastings, Marquess of Hastings Soldier, Peer of the Realm, Governor-General of India, p. 51 (Madison, NJ & Teaneck, NJ: Fairleigh Dickinson University Press 2005).

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