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.

Monday, June 30, 2014

A British Lieutenant in the Twelfth Foot Who Fought at the Battle of Pelham on October 18, 1776

In the last fifteen years, I have collected information about a large number of individuals who fought during the Battle of Pelham on October 18, 1776.  One of those persons was, Charles Hastings, a young British officer who, at the time of the battle, served as a young officer in the Twelfth Regiment of Foot.  

Hastings led an interesting, but ultimately tragic life.  He was an illegitimate son of Francis Hastings, 10th Earl of Huntingdon and an "unknown mother."  Although he eventually rose to the rank of General, he took his own life in 1823.

Today's posting to the Historic Pelham Blog transcribes a brief summary of the military career of Sire Charles Hastings published in 1848 as well as a brief biography of Hastings that appears online.  Both are followed by citations to their sources.


Appointed 15th October, 1811.

CHARLES HASTINGS, natural son of Francis, tenth Earl of Huntingdon, was appointed Ensign in the TWELFTH foot in July 1770, and joined the regiment at Gibraltar.  In 1776 he was promoted Lieutenant, and he was permitted to serve with the twenty-third regiment in America, where he was [Page 102 / Page 103] appointed Aide-de-Camp to Early Percy, and afterwards to Sir Henry Clinton.  He was at the actions at Pelham Manor and White Plains, and at the capture of Fort Washington; also in the successful expedition against the American magazines at Danbury.  He accompanied Sir William Howe to Pennsylvania, was engaged at Brandywine and Germantown, and was twice wounded.  In 1780 he was promoted Captain in the TWELFTH foot, and joined his regiment at Gibraltar, where he had several opportunities of distinguishing himself during the siege of that fortress, and he evinced great gallantry at the sortie in November, 1781.  In 1782, he was appointed Major in the seventy-sixth; in 1783 he was promoted to Lieut.-Colonel in the seventy-second, which regiment was disbanded in the same year.  He obtained the Lieut.-Colonelcy of the thirty-fourth regiment in 1786, and was afterwards removed to the sixty-first, and subsequently to the sixty-fifth.  He was promoted to the rank of Major-General in 1796, and to that of Lieut.-General in 1803.  In February, 1806, he was created a BARONET, of Willesley Hall, in the county of Derby; and in November following he was appointed Colonel of the fourth garrison battalion, from which he was removed to the seventy-seventh regiment in July, 1811; and in October following, to the TWELFTH foot.  In 1813 he was promoted to the rank of General.  He died in 1823."

Source:  Cannon, Richard, Historical Record of The Twelfth, Or the East Suffolk, Regiment of Foot, Containing an Account of the Formation of the Regiment in 1685, and of its Subsequent Services to 1847, pp. 102-03 (London:  Parker, Furnivall, & Parker, 1848).

Willesley Hall in Leicestershire, the Seat of the Abney-Hastings Family.
Source:  A Descriptive Guide to Ashby-de-la-Zouch.

Wikipedia includes a more complete biography of Sir Charles Hastings.  That biography provides, in part, as follows:

"Sir Charles Hastings, 1st Baronet

General Sir Charles Hastings, 1st Baronet GCH (11 March 1752 – September 1823) was a British Army officer.  


Hastings was the illegitimate son of Francis Hastings, 10th Earl of Huntingdon and an unknown mother. 

He married Parnel Abney, the only daughter and heiress of Thomas Abney of Willesley Hall in Willesley, Derbyshire. Thomas Abney was the son of Sir Thomas Abney Justice of the Common Pleas. 

Hastings had two sons, Charles born 1 October 1792 and Frank who was born 6 February 1794 and a daughter, Selina, who died young.

He was created a baronet, of Willesley Hall in the County of Derby, on 18 February 1806. He was also a Knight Grand Cross of the Royal Guelphic Order. Hastings had an ancestral seat at Willesley from his marriage and a house at Harley Street in Middlesex. 

Lady Hastings passed her life in seclusion and near blindness at their ancestral home.

Hastings took his own life and had acorns buried with him in 1823. He was succeeded by his son Charles who changed his name to Abney-Hastings. His son Frank Abney Hastings fought at the Battle of Trafalgar and died at Zante.

Military career

He purchased an Ensigncy in the 12th Foot, in 1776 a Lieutenancy, and in 1780 a Captaincy. In 1783 he purchased a majority in the 76th Foot, but by 1786 was a Lieutenant-Colonel on the half-pay of the 72nd Foot. In 1786 he became Lieutenant-Colonel of the 34th Foot. In 1789 he retired on half-pay again, and during this time transferred to the 65th Foot. In 1798 he transferred to the 61st Foot as Lieutenant-Colonel and soon afterwards was promoted brevet Colonel and Major-General on the same day. In 1800 he became Lieutenant-Colonel of the 65th Foot. In 1806 he was promoted Colonel of the 4th Foot, then transferred to the 77th Foot, and in 1811 returned to his old regiment, the 12th Foot. He was later promoted General."

Source:  Sir Charles Hastings, 1st Baronet, Wikipedia.org <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sir_Charles_Hastings,_1st_Baronet> (visited Jun. 22, 2014).

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