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Marching with Thomas Skeel

by Major Francis Jones, C.V.O., T.D., F.S.A.,
Wales Herald Extraordinary

AMONG documents deposited in the Carmarthenshire Record Office by the County Council's Museum Committee is the autobiography of Thomas Skeel of Laugharne, a volume measuring 10cm by 16cm, and consisting of one hundred and fourteen pages. The title-page shows that he intended to write his "Life" in two volumes covering the period 1803-1815. Only the first volume, describing his military service in the Somersetshire Militia from 1803 to 1807 has survived. The second was to include an account of his service with the 40th Foot in Ireland, Portugal, Spain, and France, from 1807 until 27 July 1815. If he ever wrote the second volume it may still be somewhere in Laugharne or the neighbourhood, and should it come to light I hope that I may be favoured with a view of it. As the 40th Regiment of Foot played a distinguished part in the Peninsular and Waterloo campaigns, Skeel's account should be of considerable interest to military historians and particularly to Carmarthenshire readers.

The autobiographer came of a stock long established in south-west Carmarthenshire. Rendered variously as Skeel, Scheel, Skyle, and Skele, the name is of Norse origin, and family tradition states that the Skeels came to Laugharne from Denmark during the days of the Tudors. As Laugharne was a busy port from medieval times down to the beginning of the present century, it would have been easy enough for anyone from the continent to have arrived, and for reasons of commerce or marriage, to have settled there.

Whatever truth resides in the tradition, there certainly was an ancient family of that name seated at Gammel Estrup in Jutland, represented today by Count Christian Scheel of Copenhagen. Belonging to the Danish nobility, it was said that the Scheels could ride for sixty miles over their own land, stretching from Grenaa to Viborg. They took a prominent part in national life. Edmund Scheel came to London as Envoy Extraordinary from the King of Denmark to our William III, while Count Christian Scheel, was ambassador to Catherine the Great of Russia, and is rumoured to have been poisoned in 1771 by the Empress's reigning favourite, the jealous Orloff, who saw in the ambassador's handsome looks a rival for admission to the delights of the royal boudoir. Gammel Estrup, one of the finest examples of Denmark's older manor-houses, has been converted into a museum and contains numerous treasures of both family and national attraction. Many of the Scheels lie buried within Auning church where ornate monuments testifying to their terrestrial attainments are ornamented with heraldic ensigns the white, red, and blue shield with an inescutcheon bearing two silver swans holding a gold ring in their beaks, and the motto In rectu decus.

The earliest reference I have found to the family in Carmarthenshire is in 1544 when David Skeel is described as living at Laugharne. This accords with the tradition of their settlement here in Tudor times. Thenceforward we find them as burgesses, traders, mariners, farmers, innkeepers, churchwardens of St. Martins church, and port-reeves of the ancient township. Thomas Skeel was Portreeve in 1723, James Skeel in 1740, and Joseph Skeel in 1787. The family became extinct in the male line towards the middle of the last century, but descendants of female lines still reside in the county among them being the Morses and Colby-Evanses.

During the early part of the eighteenth century a branch of the Skeels of Branwast near Laugharne, settled in Pembrokeshire Edward Skeel at Trewilym in St. Lawrence, Henry Skeel at Hayscastle, Erasmus Skeel and his son Essex in Mathry parish. Henry Skeel of Hayscastle and James Skeel of Trewilym were High Constables of the Hundred of Dewsland in 1759 and 1761 respectively. Another, a Nonconformist divine, the Revd. Thomas Skeel (1758-1836), gave his name to a farm Tynewydd Skeel, while his cousin, the Revd. Ebenezer Skeel, was a respected minister with the Independent connection at Abergavenny. Perhaps the most remarkable member of the Pembrokeshire branch was Dr William Skeel who settled as a medical practitioner in London, and by shrewd investments became extremely wealthy, reputedly a millionaire. His daughter, Dr Caroline Anne James Skeel, M.A., D.Lit., F.R.Hist.S., took a double first in Classics and History at Girton College in 1895, and became Professor of History in Westfield College. Her books, Travel in the First Century A.D., The Council in the Marches of Wales, and her numerous articles in learned journals, revealing an unusual grasp of historical techniques, remain standard works of reference. When she died in her 80th year in 1951 (leaving over a quarter of a million pounds sterling), the Times obituarist observed "knowledge and humour combined with pungent expression to make her lectures famous in the University, and to many students she communicated the sheer joy of sound learning". With her death the surname Skeel became extinct in the Pembrokeshire line, although numerous descendents of the female lines are still living, one of them being the wife of the present writer.

Of Thomas Skeel, author of the manuscript under review, we know all too little. He was the younger son of Evan Skeel by Rose Watts his wife, who lived in modest circumstances in Laugharne. Of Evan's five children, four sought their livelihood in England. The elder son, Evan, settled in Bristol, the two sisters Margaret and Mary went into service in private schools in the district, while Thomas became a farm servant at Tickenham some eight miles from Bristol, and it was from there that he "went a soldier".

Thomas enlisted in the 2nd Somerset Militia on 14 July 1803, as a substitute for one William Backer, a farmer's son. He served continuously with the unit until 22 August 1807 when he volunteered to join the 1st Battalion, 40th Regiment of Foot, for a period of seven years. Readers may be interested to learn that a Welshman was associated with the origin of this regiment. In 1717 certain independent companies of foot which had done duty for a long time in the West Indies and the American plantations, were ordered to be formed into a regiment in Nova Scotia. Designated the 40th Foot, it was placed in 1717 under command of the man who had almost entirely raised it, namely, Colonel Richard Philipps, Governor of Nova Scotia from 1720 to 1730, and later a Lieutenant-General. Richard, the second son of Richard Philipps of Martletwy in Pembrokeshire, had served at the battle of the Boyne, and later went to America, and died in 1751 at the advanced age of 90. A direct descendant from the first commander of the 40th Foot, was the late Lord Kylsant, whose daughter the Hon. Mrs Fisher Hoch, T.D., D.L., lives at Plas, Llanstephan.

The 40th took part in the American war of Independence, and in the Napoleonic campaigns, fighting magnificently at Waterloo, an honour still proudly borne on the Colours of the Regiment. On the reorganization of the army in 1881, the 40th was grouped with the 82nd (The Prince of Wales's Volunteers) as the 1st and 2nd Battalions of The South Lancashire Regiment (The Prince of Wales's Volunteers) which has continued ever since as one of our regiments of the line.

Intelligent and Observant
Judging from Thomas Skeel's caligraphy, spelling, and sentence construction, it is clear that his schooling had been of the scantiest. Yet he had amassed a rudimentary knowledge of the three Rs, and his narrative shows him to have been intelligent and observant, while the shifts and passes to which he was often put reveal qualities of initiative and a good deal of commonsense. He was a kindly young man, always glad to see his parents, his brothers and sisters, and old friends, and ready to help army comrades. The few philosophical reflections he permits himself suggest a capacity for assessing actions in the light of moral precepts. The fact that he wrote a "Life" at all shows that he possessed capacities above the average run of private soldiers of that time. As Dr Johnson observed in another context, the wonder is, not that it was done well, but that it was done at all.

The "Life" concerns his service in England as a militiaman, and provides an excellent, often vivid, picture of a soldier's experiences in the humdrum conditions at home stations far from the excitements and exhilarations of active service. The first thing that strikes the reader is the constant and enormous amount of marching carried out by the troops. This prepared them for the fatigues they were likely to experience under campaign conditions, and helps us to appreciate the mobility and rapidity of manoeuvre carried out by our armies during European wars and often commented upon by both friend and foe. Skeel was clearly a good soldier, and his complaints were both reasoned and few. Marching, guard and escort duty, quartering, manoeuvres, field days, reviews, furloughs, are all taken in their stride. He liked the army. When an effort was made by a Londoner to persuade him to desert, he stoutly dismissed the idea "I told him that I liked soldiering too well to desert my Colours". Uncomplicated, occasionally somewhat naive, his outlook is summed up in words he uses several times in the manuscript "So I done according to orders".

He had an eye for antiquities and the unusual. In off-duty hours he visited Carisbrooke castle, and saw the window through which Charles I is said to have made his escape. He handled some relics of that monarch when he called at the parish church near Ashburnham House in Sussex, namely, his spurs, armour, the gold watch "he had in his pocket when he was beheaded", the shirt he had worn on that melancholy occasion, and the winding sheet, both bearing traces of blood, all of which were kept "in a chest in the church close to the Lord's House". The Lord in question was a temporal one, whose coachman afterwards regaled Skeel and his companion to a bucketful of strong beer: "we drank about a quart apiece and thanked him and wished him good morning, but before we had got half a mile from the park, the trees appeared to us double, for it was the strongest beer I ever drank in my life. The name of the place was called Ashburnham as the gentleman was called Lord Ashburnham". This was John, 2nd Earl of Ashburnham (1724-1812.) His ancestor, John Ashburnham had been Groom of the Bedchamber to Charles I, and was well-known for his close relations with that King, which accounts for the collection of relics that Skeel saw. His grandfather, John, created Baron Ashburnham in 1689, was castor rotulorum of Breconshire from 1702 to 1710, having married Bridget daughter and heiress of Walter Vaughan of Porthamel, Breconshire, and Pembrey in Carmarthcnshire; his father, yet another John, was Lord of the Bedchamber to the Prince of Wales (1728-31), and in 1730 was advanced to the dignity of Earl of Ashburnham, and Viscount St Asaph in the Principality of Wales. The second Earl, whose beverage Skeel had so freely quaffed, held several Royal appointments Lord of the Bedchamber, Groom of the Stole, Master of the Great Wardrobe, Keeper of Hyde Park and St James's Park was a Privy Councillor, and Lord Lieutenant of Sussex; his wife, Elizabeth Crowley, daughter of an alderman of the city of London, had a fortune of 200,000. The family took an interest in their Welsh possessions, and in 1883 still owned 5,700 acres in Carmarthenshire and 1,400 in Breconshire.

Skeel's regiment was reviewed several times by the King, the Prince of Wales, and other members of the Royal Family. He shows George III in a favourable light, for a monarch who met troops marching in column of route and ordered them to rest saying, "The poor men are tired after their long march, I am sorry to see them" could not fail to command the affection of his redcoats.

Resourceful Hitch-Hiker
Perhaps nowhere is the shrewdness and initiative of the private soldier shown more markedly than in Skeel's methods of travelling while proceeding on leave. "Hitch-hiking" is clearly no new pastime, and the manner in which he and his fellows, with little in their pockets, moved about the country cannot but arouse admiration. The hostility towards soldiers shown by civilians, particularly alehouse-keepers, added considerably to their difficulties. Some publicans refused to serve soldiers or accommodate them in any way, so that Skeel had to threaten to report them "to the Mayor for denying to sell to us"; and of a certain London publican he says "We knowed that he did not like the sight of a soldier in his house". But on the whole they seem to have surmounted the difficulties, often with good humour.

Furloughs were too precious to be spent in dawdling. When, at the end of 1806 Skeel and a comrade, Isaac Ledbury, went on furlough, they travelled at an amazing pace, the latter being particularly anxious to reach Frome where a loving wife awaited him. "I was pretty good myself", wrote Skeel, "but he was better. For it makes a great difference when a man has got a wife, for he will do the utmost that is in his power when he has been a long time from seeing his wife. Perhaps I might have done the same if I had a wife".

Skeel does not pull his punches, and the narrative reveals some of the less attractive features of some of his comrades. The sickening account of an orgy in 1807 recalls Wellington's scathing strictures on the quality of the troops he was later to command in the Peninsula. Probably this incident was exceptional, and generally the narrative does not show the soldier in a bad light. However horrifying, even bestial, their conduct could be at times, we must remember that these were the men who won Britain's battles, which, after all, is what a soldier is for.

That Thomas Skeel possessed a good memory, particularly for detail, is amply demonstrated. Nevertheless, he could hardly have recalled events, places, dates, and mileages, with the precision shown in the "Life" unless he had kept some sort of diary or notebook. He wrote in 1815, yet describes the events of 1803 as if it were but yesterday. I doubt whether memory alone could have achieved this.

At first I considered omitting the more unimportant, seemingly trivial and irrelevant entries. However, it was clear that the flavour and atmosphere of the narrative, as well as some of the personality of the writer might, suffer by such excision, and so I have transcribed it in toto. I have corrected the vagabond spelling and erratic punctuation in a few places, that clarity and readability might be maintained.

The "Life" is the authentic voice of the British soldier of Napoleonic times. Let Thomas Skeel now speak to us.

'A True and Corect Accompt'

The Life of Thomas Skeel With true and corect accompt of his travels through England and Wales, Ireland, Portugal, Spain, and France. In the space of that time he was 4 years and 9 months in French Prison, at that time he belonged to the 1st Battalion of the 40th Regiment of futt, July the 14th 1803.

The Beginning of this travel in the 2nd Somerset Militia. Thomas Skeel was posted in The 2nd Somerset Militia on the 14 of July 1803, at The Star Inn, Bedminster, near Bristol. I went a sopsitude [substitute] for one William Backer of Backewell Coman in the barish of Backewell, Somerset Shire. I received 20 guineas bounty. I was quarterd night at the Angel in Ridclift Street in Bristol.

March away on the 15 at 5 a Clock in Morning with a small batty under the comand of a Sargant to Weels. 21 miles. Ther we joind a large barty of recriuts. I was quartard at the Starr Inn. We remaind in this Cittey until the 9 of Augst when I march with 400 recruits on Monday onder the comand of Majer Knott for Exeter in Devon Shier. March through Glastenbury 5 miles. Holted that night at Langport. We marched throuh Somerton 8 miles from Glastenbury. To Langport 5 miles. Holted there that night and was quartard at The Swan Inn.

The next day yearley in the morning we marchd for Ilmister. 10 Miles. Holted there one ower to refrish our self, then march [to] Chard, 5 miles. Halted ther that night, and I was quarterd at the Angel Inn. The next morning march off for Honiton in Devon Shire. We arivd there in god time. We marchd 12 miles that day. We holted in Honiton that night and was quartard at the Bell.

The next day we marchd to Exeter 16 miles. I was billeted at the Blue Anker in Castel Street. Exeter is a large cittey, has 24 barish churches, We remained in Exeter untill Augt 17th. Then we marchd to Woodbury Camp 8 miles from Exeter. The 1st Somerset Militia laie in camp with us. We was reviewed several times by Gienerel Sinko durin the Campin and severel Feld dayes. We had a disagreeable Campain owing to Weet wether particular the last month. The watter was over our shoes in our tents, and a great nomber of our men fell sick. We remaind in camp untill the 17 of November wich [was] verry late to stop in camp. This was the forst campain I ever had. It seemd verry queer to me. I thought it great hardships. When we broock up camp we marchd into Exeter on the 17th of Novemper 8 miles. I was quartard at the Turks head in the Market Place.

We remaind in Exeter untill the 21, then marchd into cantoonments for winter quartars. The Lite Company went to Chidly [Chudleigh], 2 Company to Nutonbushel, 1 do to Brixhan, 1 do to Tinmouth, 1 do to Dolish and Star Cross, 3 do to Berry Head Barricks. The 1st Company and the Grenadier wich was the Company I did belong to, went to Totness, wich was head quarters. We marchd to Nutonbushel the 22nd, and was quartard at the Mill Whell that night, 16 m. The next day marchd to Totness 8 miles, I was quartard at Totness at the Crownd and Anker for 6 months.

Totness is a fine town with a rever roning through it. There is two towns, the one coald Totness, and the other Bridge Town, as the rever parts it, and a fine stone bridge over the rever. We remaind in this town 8 months in the [w]hole, but we left the town for the faier time. We march on Monday the 13 of May for Nutonbushel 8 miles, and march back on Satarday the 18 for Totness, and I was quartard at The Oxford Inn. Durin our stay in Totness I marchd on comand to Berry Head Barricks 11 miles, march through Brixham, a town one mile before I came to Berry head.

Berry head is at Barran Rock jutting out into the sea, with Barracks on it for soulders. I returnd back to Totness on the same day the 13 of July on friday. Nothing happend perticler during our stay at Totness, onley we were forst to Parade in Marching Order twice in a week, and march in to the Contry 5 or 6 or 8 miles sometimes, as one day we march to Ashburton [ ] miles and returnd the same day in hevey marching ordor. I will give this town the praise, for I spent many plesand howers in this town as there was maney smart yong women in it.

The 16 of July we march from Totness for Plymouth. The first day march into Modbury 12 mile, billeted at the Nue Inn 3 miles in the contry, wich made that day's march 15 miles. The 17 we march through a small town called Plympton, 11 miles. holted there one ower and a half to refrish our selfs. Then marched to Pelymouth 5 miles. Marchd into Frankford Barracks. The 18 and 19 the remainder of the regiment march into Pleymouth from their cantonments. Duty was verry hard in Plymouth, every other day we are on Gard. We had to do duty in Dock 2 miles from Plymouth. The left wing of the Regiment lay in Millbay Barracks. We recevd the route verry sodanly one morning when we was on Private floging of a man. The route came at 11 a clock to march that night at 11 a clock for Waymouth camp. We marchd on the 20 of August on Tusday night.

The 21 we arivd at Ashburton 24 miles. I was quartard at The Golden Lyion, remaind untill the 22, then marched to Chidley 12 miles, but remained no longer tho we had some refrishment, then march to Exeter 12 miles, 24 miles that day. I was quartard at the Ship in Goldsmith Lane. In Exeter there is a large bell wich ways 3000 pounds wait. It is in a tower by itself. Wile we laie in Woodbery camp I was in a small town coaled Topsham, and Exmouth, 4 mile each from the camp. The 23 we march to Honiton 16 miles, quartard at the Green draggon. The 24 march to Exmister [Axminster] 9 miles, billitad at the Gorge and draggon. Holted the 25 on Sonday in Exmister, and the 26 Marchd to Bridport 12 miles, quartard at the White Lion. The 27 march to Dorchester 15 miles, billeted at the Queen's Armes. Bridport was the first town in Dorset Shire that road.

The King Commands
The 28, march to Weymouth camp 7 miles. The camp was one mile from the town of Weymouth. Before we came to the camp we was holted and foremd line in the road, as we soa the King coming on horseback and the Prince of Wales and Duke of York. We presented armes and saluted them. The King road up to our comand[ing] offeser, and gave ordars for us to sit down and rest our selves. He saies 'The poor men is tiered after thay long march. I am sorrey to see them.' We march into the camp ground and pitchd out tents in les than half a ower.

The King cam up to camp every morning at 7 a clock to see the troops, on horseback. We had severl feald days with the roayel Famely, and severl times reviewd by them in the camp &c. Likewise by Gienerel Fitzroay. Our duty was very hard at Waymouth. The Grenadiers had to mount gard over the Royal Famely. The 1st Somerset Shier Militia, and the Stafford shire Militia, and a Regiment of Henavarn Hors [Hanoverian Horse] wich laie in Ratepowl Barracks. The 3 Regments of Militias laye in camp, one mile from the town of Weymouth.

The 30 of October 1804 we marchd for Portsmouth. We marchd that day to Wareham. We had a verry weet day, raind all the way. We houlted in Wareham that night, 21 miles. I was quartard at the Hors and Jockey. The 31, march to Wimbourn 12 miles, quartard at the King Armes. The 1 of November we marchd to Ring Wood in Hamshire, 10 miles, quartard at the White Lion. The 2nd, marchd to Southampton 20 miles, quartered at the Bell in South Street. The 3rd, marchd to Parham 12 miles, quartard at the Red Lion. Holted the 4th on Sunday, and the 5th marchd into Portsmouth, marchd into Coalworth Barracks, wich was Headquartars. Part of the Regment lay in Portesea Barrakes, and part at I1sey Barracks and part at Fort Comberland Barracks, for our Regment was strong at that time, about 19 hondred men.

Our duty was verry hard. In Portsmouth we cod scars git one night in Bead. Ginerel Hope had the comand there at that time. The 29th of November I went with a party to the Isele of Wait with 4 desartars. Inbarked at Point and landed at Woodin [Woolton] Bridge, 7 miles across the Harbour. Marchd to nere Newporte 5 miles, we give up the desartars to the Comanding Officer of the Depot 1 mile from the Town.

Then we returnd to Newporte and remaind there. That night I was quartard at the Newport Arms. The next morning I toock a walk a mile in the contry to Casbroock Castel [Carisbrooke]. It is a verry ould castel. In it was King Charls the 1st confind for 6 weeks, and he made his escape oute through a window wich was in the castel. There is a well in this castel wich is one mile in depth. I returnd from the castel, and march to Ryde 10 miles from Nuport. I imbarked at Ryde in the evening of the 30 and land at Stokes Bay.

On the 22 of April 1805 I went to the Isle of Waite with 2 desartars. Inbarked at Portsmouth and disinbarked at Woodenbridge, and marchd to New porte and was quartard at the Corier Armes, and returnd the next day. The Isele of Wait is 22 miles in lenth and 16 in breath. It has 5 market towns in it. The 1st of December 1804 [1805 changed to 1804] went to the Isele of With with 9 desartars, 6 out of the 9 was Drumers wich did belong to the Sorry [Surrey] Militia. We inbarked in the morning at Point and landed at Wooden Bridge. We marchd to Newpoort and deliverd up the desartars to the depott. I and my command was quartard at the King Arms.

The 2nd, we went to Woodenbridge to Inbarck, but the sea was to ruff to goe over to Portsmouth. We remaind all day untill late in the evening at a pobelk house in the vilage. My comred's name was William Gay, and asked of me if I wod take a walk with him. He said that he had a onkel, a mother's brother, living in the Iseland at a place coald Peedcathad.

We had 8 miles to go. He and I set out on our journey to see his onkel. We did not know the road but we traveld untill night before we could meet with eney person to inquire the road. At last we spide a yong oman with a bondel of wood on her back going across a fild near us, but as soon as she spide us she toock to heels and tost the wood off her back and never loockd round untill she got oute of site. There was 3 roads and we did not know wich way to take but we went the middel road about half a mile and met with a contry man. We came close on him before he spide us or else he wood a gon back for he seemed very much frigtened. We asked him the road. He said we was in the right road and that was within 10 roads [sic] of the place. The man was verry right for we son came into the village, it was aboute 6 a clock. It was quite dark.

Strange Meeting
We inquired for the house that his Onkel leved in. His name was Thomas Pevat in the parish of Petheaden. We went to the door of the house and nocked. Then came a woman to the door, and we inquiered if Thos Pevat lived in that house. She stod with her arms across the door, and made ancer and said he was not in. Wat do you want with him? My comrade made ancer and said he was his onkel, his mother's brother. She sais I am his doter, and stod all the time with her arms extended across the dore. When will my onkel com home? I don't know. She ses at last, will you come in ? So we went into the house.

She sate down by the fier and left us standing behind in the dark. Never asked us to set down. It was a very cold night but we sate down on a form some distance from the fier. We thought it was no use to wait untill she asked us or elce we might a staid untill this time. In the cors of half of a nower the old man came in, and my comrid made his self known to him that he was his sister's son. The old man shook hands with him, and tears came in his eyse. He saies, is my sister a live? William sed yes and in good health when I left hom, wich was not long since.

The old man said, My dear nevew I am glad to see you and shod be glad to see your poor mother, but I am a fraid I never shall as I am verry old. I have not sen hear this 30 years. The old man went and fetch a long faggot of wood and made up a large fier, and orderd us to com close to the fier and warm our selfves, wich we did. But his doater bock verry black on us all the time. The old man went out for some time, and returned with a bottel of brandy, warmed som watter and asked his doter if she had som shuger in the house.

She made answer and said she had got som to sell. He saide sell me one pound, and he paid hear for it, and made the grog, and put bread and cheese on the tabel and bid us eate and drink and be merry, for it all be longs to mee. His doater sate by the fier and a yong child, and never spoak one woord good nor bad. In a short time her husband came in, a carting fellow, but he had not got sence to say enething but to gase on us.

The old man said, Son and doater this yong man is my sister's son whom I never soa in my life, nor [have] you, so do not be so strange but com and drink with him and the other yong man and let us make them welcom for this is the last time I ever shall see them, as my days is all most spent.

So the son in loa and the dotar toock a glass of grog a peece because they knowd they did not pay for it, but never drank our health but loocked as black on us as if my comrad was a disgrase to them, but they was a fraid we shod remain there all night, for the dotar spooke and said she got no place for us to lie. But the old man said, I will make place for them, for they shall sleep in my bead and I will be on the ground.

But what a rage she got in when the old man spock those woords. You know there is no room in my house for them. As she spoock these words there came tears in the old man's eyes for he was trobeled to the hart. My comrid spoke these words, Cuson [cousin] but you are not worthy to be coald so. For my self nor my comrid do not mene to remain in your house all night for we wod sooner lie under the hedge then lie in your house. For we have got money plenty in our pockets to pay for our lodgins if we think proper. But if there was no other house in the island but youres we wood not stay here, for this is the first time that I ever was in your house, and it shall be the last, for you have no reson to dispise a souldier, for I think my self as good as you, and you have got shildren of your own, and you do not know what they will com to before they die. So the discorse ended, and she and her hosband went to bed and never wished us good night.

But we and the old man eate and drank all the grog. Then we got up to wish the onkel good night, for it was a past 9 a clock and it was time for us to go to see for some lidgins. His onkel said there was no puplick howes within 1 mile of us and it was late, so he desiered of us to remain there. That we woud not, but we thanked him. He said I would goe part of the way with us, bu we desiered of him to not come as it was could and a dark night, but he wod com. On the roade we hade a littel discoris about the dotter and son in loa. The poor old man said I was one well to do but that he give all that he had to his doatter and son in law at thayr marage as she was his onley child, but after they got all thay could thay slited me verry much and do make me pay for all that I do have to eat and to drink and likewise for my lodgins. They keep a small groocers shop but I paies for all I have. I have nothing but what I am forced to work for my daily labour, but my labour is all most don, then I must go on the parish. That I got by my good will.

Turned Out in Snow
The old man came with us half a mile. He wod insist on coming with us all the way, but we wod not leve him com any fardar and forced on him going back. So we shoock hand with him and parted. With the thears in his eyes he said, I shall never see you eny more, my dear yong men good by and God bless you both for ever. William Gay, and I travald on untill we came to a small vilage, a littel better than a mile from the old man's house. The first poplick house we came to we coaled in and coaled for a Pott of Bear and sate our selfs down. The landlordde of the house sate by the fier. She loocked like a old witch for she had a hump on her back and loocked verry fritful. There was a fine yong woman in the house with was her doatter, and a sailor wich was her sweetharte as we did suppose.

The landlord came in in a shoart time afterwards. We asked if we could git lodgins for that night, wich the ould oman mad ancer, No you cannot for I have but one bead in the house, and it is better for you to go loock for lodgins to som other place. I made ancer and said, The inhabitants of the vilage is all gon to bead for it a past 10 a clock. She saies No, there is a alehouse a littel fardar up on the left hand will give you lodgins, for they are not gone to bead. I said to William you stay hear and I will goe and see if I can get lodgins, and I will return back and let you know.

She says go both of you and shure to get lodgins. I said no you remain untill I return. She wanted us both to quitt the house and so lock the door, but I was up to her chime. I went all over the vilage but every door was locked and every one in bead, so I returnd. It snowed verry hard and verry could night it was. When I came into the house I tould my comerd every person was in bead, and there was no lodgins to be gott. So he said we must remained hear as we have got money to pay for our bead. The old woman said No you shall not stay hear uppon no consideration what so ever for I will not keep a souldier in my house.

I made ancer and said Mistress do you count your self a Christian. She sais yes I am. you are, I do not coall eney person a Christian if they turn poor souldirs oute of doors in a could snowey night like this, for we have no other vow [sic] than to be frose to deth before the morning. What is that to me if I have no place for you, I cannot keep you. The sailor spoke at last and said you must goe from hear for the people have no roome for you. William made ancer and said we will not goe from hear this night nor yet you nor all the poppel in the house shall not make us go. For we did not vallew them.

The old man spock for the first time, we can lett them sleep in the hay loft. We agread to goe to the hay loft, but wen we went there the top of the roofe of the house wall all in hoals and the snow entering in. William steps oute of the straw and said. I b-d- if I stope hear, for if you have no beade we will site by the fire side. So we made the best of oure way to Woodinbridge. We arrived wod lock the door and keep us oute. So we went into the house and remained there. So we coaled for a nother pot of bear, and they semed to be more reconsiled.

The sailor by this time was begining to gitt merry and asked us if we cod sing a song or 2. So we sang 3 or 4 songs and pleased the company verry well. Then thay drank to us and we was all goodfrinds. Aboute 12 a clock the old woman broate us up staiers and shoude us a good beade and we sleeped well all night, and the next morning we paide for our lodgins and wished them good morning, it being a Sunday morning and the snow verry deep on the ground. So we made the best of oure way in Woodinbridge. We arrived there before the party was gone. We inbarked in the small boate and landed at Portsmouth.

Marchd from Portsmouth the 10th of July for Waymouth camp. The 11th on Thursday we inbarked in small boats and went over the rever to Gosport and marchd to Southampton 19 miles, billitad at the gorge. The 12th, march to Ringhood, 20 miles, quartared at the Fish. The 13th, march through Wimbourn, holted there one ower to refresh our selfs, 10 miles. Then marched off for Wareham 12 miles. Marched 22 miles that day. I was quartared at the Bishop Blase. The 14th, holted on Sunday. The 15th, marched to Waymouth Camp 19 miles. The camp was 2 miles from Waymouth Town. We had to do duty in Weymouth over the Roayell fameley, the King and Queen, the Prince of Wales and Duke of York and the Duke of Comberland and the Duke of Clarence and Duke of Gloucester and 3 of the Princes, and we was reveud by the Roayel famely severl time.

King's Daily Visits
We had 3 fild days every week and 2 captell (?capital) sham fites 8 miles from the camp. We had verry plesand wether during our camp pain. The King did use to come to the Camp every morning with Ginerel Fezroay (Fitzroy), a coppell of servants. His Majesty is a verry yearley riser. He did go verry often in his yott a pleshierin. He went out to sea one day, and the wind changed and he was untill a 11 a clock at night before he come in. I was on sentry the same time at the King Stoops [steps] when he landed. The poppel was afraid he was lost. I am going to menshan a fue words about Portsmouth I forgot.

The 3d Roayal Lankey Shier Militia Iaie with us in Portsmouth. April the 16th a voluntering took place in the Militia Regments. We had 400 men that volinterd oute of our Regment for different Rigments of the line and Futt Guards and Attelery [Artillery] and Marrens [Marines]. The whole of the volinters marched to Winchester on the 18, 1805, wich was head quarters for the hole of the volunters in that districk. On the 17th of March, a partey of our Rigment guarded 7 waggons loded with money from Portsmouth to London. The money was taken from the Spaniers [Spaniards] at sea. The 4th of June we marched to Porthdown Hill, the King's Bearth day, and fiered a fute de joy. 6 mile from Portsmouth with all the volcnters, 1805. PriveateMilitia.thumb.jpg

In Way camp the different Rigments wich lay with us, first, the 21st North Britches [British] fusiliers, the 31st or Yong Buffs, the 35th Rigment of futt, of the line, the 15th Light Horse and 2 Rigments of Hanevarn horse, part of the Roayell train of Hevey Atelery, and som of the fline [Flying] Atelery, the North York Shiers Millitia, and the first Roayill Lankey Shiere Militia, the first Somerset Shiere Militia, and the 2nd Somerset Shiere Militia the Rigment wich I did belong to. The nomber of men wich was in camp amounted to a 11 thousand and 5 hondards, a fine boddy of men as I ever soa at that time. The camp began to breek up on the 28th of September. Our Rigment march of the camp, October the 12th, in 2 devishons, the 2nd Devishon went to Weymouth that night, the 1st Devishon wich I did belong to, marched the first day to Dorchester, 6 miles. I was quartered at the Antlope.

The 13th, halted on Sunday. The 14th, marchd to Blandford, 16 miles, billited at the Ship. The 15, marchd to Salsbury in Willshire 23 miles, quartared at the White Swan. Salsbury is a citty with the highist spier to the cathedral in England. The 16th marchd to Stock Bridge in Ham Shier, 15 miles, quartard at the King Armes, 3 miles in the contry, wich was 18 miles, I marched that day. On the 17 marchd to Winchester, 9 miles, billited at the Blue Bell. The 18th, marchd to Horsford [?Alresford], 8 miles, we holted there one ower to git som refrishment, then marchd to Petersfild, 16 miles, quartard at White Hart. The 19th, marchd to Meadett [Midhurst] in Sussex.

Holted to get som refrishment half a nower, 10 miles, then marched to Piteworth [Petworth], 8 miles, marchd that day 21 miles, quartard 3 miles in the contry. The 20th, holted on Sunday. The 21, marched to Harlington, 7 miles, holted there one ower to refrish ourselves, then marchd to Staning [Steyning] 16 miles, quartard at the Gorge and Dragon, marchd that day 23 miles. The 22 day, marchd to Lewis 18 miles quartred at Blacksmith Armes 3 miles in the contry. 23rd, marchd to Hailsham, 13 miles, quartard at the Britchis [British] Grenadier. The 24th, marchd for Silver Hill Barricks. I was on the baggage guard that day, so I hard there was som curiosities to be sen at a Lords house, a littel distance from the road, so I and two men more got leave of the Sargant of the Guard to go and see thies quirioseats [curiosities].

Royal Relics
When we came to the Gentelman's seate we inquared of the sarvants if there was enthing worth seeing. The dairey maid informed us there was, and that it was her privelege and that she wod goe and show us. Immedley the yong oman broat us to the Church whare these things was to be seene. You most understand that it was som wearing aparel &c wich wance did belong to King Charles the first which was beheadd. The 1st thing we soa was a gold watch witch he had in his pocket when he was beheadd. It was very large. I had it in my hand and did examining the insides works, the main spring, and the chain was very fare and strong and all the workes was suprising strong, quite dirfent to the workes in watchies at this present time. The 2nd articels we soa was his shirrt wich he had on when he was beheadd. The 3rd was a paier of irons, the 4th a white sheate wich he was laid oute on. There was severel spoots of blood on the shurt and sheete. The yong woman towld us that they was washd severel times and the blood never could be washd out unto this day, wich was verry suprising. There was a paier of spures and his armer to be sean. These things was locked up in a chist in the church close to the Loards house.

After we had sen all that was to be sen, we asked the young woman what we had to pay. She made ancer, Nothing for soldiers. Peppel that could afoard it she made them pay. When we came oute we mett the cochman. He towld us to follow him, that he wod show us a much plesenter site. So we don acording to oarder. He broat us into the stabell and gave us a stabell buckett of strong bear wich he had covcrd up. The bear was 7 year old. We drank about a quart apieace and thanked him and wishd him good morning, but before we had got half a mile in the Parke the trees apeard to us dubell, for it was the strongest Bear I ever drank in my life. The name of the place was could Ashburnam and the Gintelman was coaled Lord Ashburnam, 3 miles from Battel.

We arived at Battel bifore the Baggadge Gard came in. Battel is a small town 14 miles from Hailsham. In this town there was a great battel foute in former times. There was no town there at that time, but they bilt this town in the place the battel was foute and so coald the name of the town Battel. Hear the best gun powder is made, wich takes its name from this town, the Best Battel Gun Powder. When the baggage [came] to the town they hoalted there one ower to refrish themselves, and in the [evening] we did arive at Silver hill not till 12 a clock at night, and it raind verry hard all the way. We was like drowned rats before we came to Silverhill Barracks. We had no beds to lye down on that night, but was foarcd to lye in my wett cloos all night.

Silver Hill Barracks is on a hill allmost seerounded with woods. It is on the boarders of Kent, no town nier to it then Battel wich is 8 miles. 22 miles I marchd that day. There is 2 vilages near it, Roabarts Bridge 2 miles from it, Hurs Green 1 mile from it. We had but lettel duty to do hear.

Towards the foall of the year they began to give out forlos [furloughs], so I got one granted me. William Russell and I got our forlos on the 25 of November 1805. We began our jorna [journey] that night so far as Tonbridge. We passt a small town coald Tonbridge Wells, a great place for the qualitey in the sesen for the benefitt of their health, as there is so fine host springs in this town. It is in Kent, 14 miles from Silver Hill. We lodge that night at Tonbridge a town 5 miles from Tonbridge Wells. That was 19 miles we traveld that evening. After 4 a clock we arrived at the town about half past 9.

An Hour In London
The next morning we began ouer road at 3 a clock in the morning it bing verry dark, so we went oute of ouer roade 3 miles wich [was] a great horte to us. We went through Sevenoaks 7 miles, then came to Bromley 9 miles. Then came to the cittey of Westminster joining London 12 miles. We arrived in London at 1 a clock in the middel of the day.

We stopt in London one ower to refrish ouerselves, then marchd to Brantford 5 miles. From that to Hounslo 5 miles. It being then night, and we was tiered, we went to git lidgins for the night. But we happened to foall in with a roade waggen wich was just going off. We agreed with the waggoner to take us up for 6 pence apeace and share of a pott of bear. Went in the waggen and lay down as it was a covered waggen. We arivd in Coalbroock [Colnbrook] at a 11 a cloak at night and went to the inn whare the waggen did put up at. We could not gitt a bead in the house, and there was no house oppen in the vilage. We was forest to silt up by the fier all night. At 4 a clock in the morning we began our journey. We arived at Maidenhead yearley in the morning, 9 miles. We stopt hear half a nower, to breckfast, then marchd to Reading in Bark Shire, 13 miles, remained there one ower to diner, then marchd to Newbury 17 miles. I never was so tiered in my life. At that time I was allmost nock up before we reatchcd the town. We got lodgings in Newbury that night and did not rise oute of bead untill 8 a clock next morning, for we came the day before 39 miles.

When I got up in the morning I could hardly put one futt before the other. We was resolved not to goe far that day, we travald on to Marlborough in Wilts Shire, 17 miles. We bolted there one ower to gitt something to eat, and in the publick house there was 2 gentelmen drinking, and the fell into discourse with us, and wich way we was travlin to. We towld them, to Bath. So there came a coch to the dore wich they had hiered to goe to Devizes. Thay said, soulders we will give you a lift. We thanked them and I got up into the coach and my comrad got up behind, and we drove away in greate hast, and arivd at Devizes in less than 2 owers and a half. We let at the head inn and thay orderd us in and gave us a pott of gin hot to drink. I forgot to menshan that it came verry hard rain on the road, and thay orderd my comrad to com inside that he nedent get wet, so we was so thick in the coach that we could not stur. We thanked them very kindly and took oure leefe of them, for we was resolved to goe to Millsum [Melksham] that evening.

We arivd at Millsum just at dark, 6 miles. We went into a poblick house to git som lodgins, and in the time there came a return chaise to the doore and the coachman came in to gitt a pint of bear, and he asked of us wheare we was going to. We towld him to Bath. He said I am going to Bath to night, and if you like I will take you for 6 pence apeace and share a pot of beer. So we agread with him, and got into the chease and drove off.

Assault on Turnpike Gate
We came to a Turnpike Gate not far from Bath, and the man wod not oppen the gate without payment. The cochman said he had paid in the morning and wod insist on going through without paying the 2nd time, witch was nothing but right. But the man wod not oppen the gate on eney acount without paying agen. The cochman turned about the chaise and went back to hondared yards and wipped the horses to force oppen the gate but could not do it the first time, he tried the 2nd time and failed, the 3rd time he went back 3 houndered yards and so came up to the gate at full spead, and as the horses came close to the gate he did cutt and slash the horses and forsed open the gate in quick time. So we left the gate kepper cursing and swering. We arrived in Bath at 7 a clock, a 11 miles.

We lodged that night at the White Lyon tapp, and the next morning went to inquier from my comarade's sisters as he had 2 sisters in Bath. My comerade's name was William Russell. We spent the best part of the day with them untill night. We gave 1s 6d to ride on the maiel to Bristol. We arivd at Bristol at 6 a clock that evening. It was to late for me to goe to my brother's or sisters that night, for I had a misfortain on the roade from Bath to Bristol my cap fell of my head and the whele went over it and churst it up in a lomp, so I had work to clean it before I could go enether ware. William and I slept at the [lacuna] Tunbell Street that night, and the next morning William went off for Axbridg to see his father and mother wich was about 18 miles from Bristol.

Then I took a walk to see my brother and sisters wich livd in Bristol. My brother was married, and keapt house, whear I made my house. My sisters was in sarvis. One lived at Clifton at a Boarding her name was Margrett. My other, name was Mary, she lived at Rownam at a Gentlemans house. They all behaved remarkable well to mee.

After I had bin there a fue days I toock a walk in the contry to see my old master, at Tickenham, a place where I did use to work before I went a soldier. This vilage is 8 mile from Bristol. Durin the time I remained at Tickenham I went to see Mr. Backer the farmer I went a substitute for. He was verry kind to me and when I came away he gave me half a giney to dring his helth. My old master, Mr and Mrs Westcott behaved remarkable well to me, and likewise Mr Edgar and his famely and Mr and Mrs Semins, and all the naibours round that part of the contrey. Mr. Simens is daughter Salley was ill in a delirium, a smart yang oman. I had the blesher of seeing the yong oman before she died.

I left the vilage the next day and returned to Bristol. I had acount that the yong woman Sally Simens was dead, so I went oute to the contrey to hear Funeral and returned to Bristol and spent the remain of my time with my frinds.

I had a great wish to goe to Wales to se my father and mother, but I could not as I had but 1 month to be absent from my ridgment. The 21 of December I left Bristol. I went on the coach from the Appel Tree in Broad Mead. The faier was lls 6d from Bristol to London. There was a yang man, a Corporal wan of the same Regment, whent a passenger with me. He had bin on forlo to see his friends. We stopt at Bath to chang horsis. We changed horsis 4 times and the coach and coachman twice, between Bristol and London. We went through Chipenham, a town in Wilts shire, 13 miles from Bath. Bristol is 12 miles from Bath.

After we left Chipenham we went through the same towns as we did in coming down. Marlborough was the next town we went to, 19 miles, then to Newburry, then to Reading, both towns in Berk Shier, and Maidenhead, likewise, Coalbrock is a vilage in Buckenham shier, hounslo and Brantford is in Middlesex. The 22nd we enterd London about 3 a clock in the evening. It rained very hard. We was weat to the skin on the coach. The inhabitants of London made great sporte of us because we was so wet, for the rain did power down as we went along the streets. Som did pitty us, and others did make funn at us. We came to Charing Crooss where the coach did stop.

Soaked and Unwanted
When we lit of the coach we cod scarce stand, for we was allmost benombed with could. We mad the beast of owr way to som bobleck house to dry ouer selves. The first we came to we went inn but the landlorde loocked verry black and said there was no place for us in his house. So we went to a nother house and thay was worst for they wod not let us enter into the house upon eney considershon watsoever. So we went to the 3 Bobeleck house and they was so bad, but the corporal and I was resolved to go inn on force. So we mad for the fier and coald for a port of portar, but they said they had got none. We asked them what was the men drinking that was in the house. It is the last we have. Well we will waite a leettel and see. The men wich sat by the fier made room for us to com to it to dry ourselves. We towld the landlord if he did not sell eney to eney other person while we remaind in the house we wod report him to the Maier for denieng to sell to us. We had not bin in the house long before he broat us a pott of portar, and we staid there 2 owers and got quite dry. He keept gromlin all the while because we toock up the fier place, but we did not care for him, for the men in the house was on ower sides. He said that he had no place for us to sleep. We knowed that he did hate the site of a solder in his house. So when we had dride our selves middling we left the house and went to a nother where we was intertaind verry well. My comred happend by chance to meet with his brother at that house. He was Captan of a Merican sloop, so he went with his brother, and I did not see him until the next day.

So I was left with a lot of fisherwomen 3 parts drunk. There was 6 gintlmen drinking in the parler, and I sen them take great notis of me siting and drinking by my self, and loocking at the drinking women. One of them called me in to the parlor and bade me sit down and drink with them as my comered was gone and left me. They did discores with me and give me plenty of ponch untill 10 a clock, and wod not let me pay enething. So I thanked them kindley and wished them good night and went to bead.

The next day I went to dine at a coock shop along with a black sailer wich I had fel in acquaintance with at the popeleck house, the fore part of the day. While we both was at diner in a room by ower selves there came a proud fop into house and asked the oman if she had got no place to sit down. The omen made ancer and said yes sur, there is 2 gentelmen in this littel roome ; you are welkom to sit with them if you pleas. He looked in at the doore and soa the Black and me. He made a stand as if he had bin fritned. Is these the Gentelmen wich you recommend me to? He sed no more but went out. He thought a Black and a soulder was 2 queer gentelmen. The Black was verry much afronted about.

A Chance to Desert
After diner was over we returned to the pobelick house. There was a man drinking in the house, and he fell in discorse with me. He asked me severl questans. Wher I was on forlo or discharge. I towld him on forlo. He overhoald me many ways, thinking I was a disartar. I did not like to show him my forlo because it was up that day. At the same, my comrade came inn and his brother, so we sate all together at the tabel drinking. So the man did not quistion me eney more that time. We sat drinking together for half a nower. Then the captain tock his lefe of his brother, as the vesel was going to saile that evening.

In a short time afterwards this same man as I spoke of before coald me a one side to speak with me. I went with him. He towld me if I wod desarte and go with him, he had a sute of colered cloes and that he wod give them to me to put on, and throw the Redgmentals away, but I towld him that I liked souldring to well to desarte my Colers. I knowd that he was one of London sharpars, for if I had consinted he wod a bin the first that wod a taken me up for disarter, and got 50 shillins by me. That was what he wanted.

The Corporal and I went to bead that night, and in the morning made the best of ower way for the regment. We went through Deptford a village 4 miles from London, in Kent, then march to Bromley, 8 miles, stopt there to have som refrishments. Then traveld to Sevenoaks, 9 miles. My comread fell sick in that town and coued not goe eney further so I was forced to go and leve him behind. I traveld on to Tonbridge, 7 miles. I could into a Pobelick house to have a pint of portar, then marchd to Lambhurs [Lamberhurst] a 11 mile further.

I was very tiered. I could in to the first pobelick house I came to, to loock for lodgins, for I had traveld that day 39 miles. In this house ther was two of my Rigment drinking, there was a detchment [detachment] of the rigment in his town doing duty over a Magsene, and these 2 men was quartard in the house. They was drinking and singing and was verry merry as it was Crismas Eve. The landlady towld me I should lodge there. I was glad of it. I got plenty of drink, the 2 soulders for they nowd I was poor coming off forlo they sed. They was verry right, for I had but 6 pence in the world. I paid 3 pence for my lodgins and went to bead. The next morning I got a glass of brandy and paid the other 3 pence and began my journa.

I arived at Silverhill about a 11 clock in the fore non, 8 mile. So I had my Crismas diner with my old frind Allick Jordain. Shortly afterwards my old comrad the Corporal came in 2 days afterwards. William Russell was at the Rigment before I was. I had not bin with the redgment long before I was taken sick in the fever and ague. It was the wetting I had going to London was the couse of it. Marchd from Silverhill Barricks the 30th of June 1805 (?1806). the 2 divishon march the 1st of July. I was in the first divishon. The first day march to Battel 8 miles. I was quartard 3 miles in the contry at the Black horse, 11 miles marchd that day. The 1st of July, march to Hailsham, 14 miles, had no billet that day. I was quartard 8 miles from the town with 19 more and when we came to ouer billats they had 20 men before hand. So we was forced to lie in stabels of eney place we cod. For it was too far to go back to the town for we had marchd 22 miles before.

The next day, July the 2nd, marchd to Blatchington Barracks 14 miles. The 12th of July 1806, William Gay and I went to Lewis on a littel biseness 10 miles, and from Lewis went to Brighton 8 miles. We went on the coach from Lewis to Brighton, for it we paid one shilling and sixpence. We remaind in Brighton that night and in the morning returnd to Blatchington Barracks 17 miles. The 11th of August, the 2nd Somerset Militia and the 88th Rigment of futt and the North thumberland shire Militia and the East Devon shire Milita and the 17th Light Draghoons was reviewed by the Duke of York and the Prince of Wales at Beachey Head.

Blatchington Barracks is built close on the sea beach, half a mile from a small town coald Seaford. It is a no market town, but a Cinque Ports town. There is no market town nigher to it then Lewis and that is 10 miles. [On] October the 10th forloes bagan to be given oute in the Regiment. All the men cast lotts to se wich wod goe first, but the men that was on forlo the last year was not to go. So I was one of that nomber, but there was a man by the name of William Hurle one of the same Company wich droade the 3rd number, wich was to goe on the 10 of December, and he offerd to sell his chance to eney man that wod give him 10s and 6d, wich I give it to him, inmedulenty [?immediately], and share of a poat of bear in the Bargan, as I had a great inclinashon to goe to Wales to see my father and mother, as I had not bin in my own contry for 4 years and 8 munths. All the way was verry far, about 300 miles, and only 1 months [?absence], to go and to return in.

On the 12 of December 1806, I and one Isack Ledbury, one of Frome in Somerset shier, wich was my comred at the time. We began our jorna. After Brickfast we traveld to Brighton wich was 14 miles. Then we bolted half a nower to git som refrishment. Then marchd on to Shoreham 8 miles. Did not remain there but a short time, to take a pot of bear, it being late, but we was resolved to goe to Arendel that night. When we was with [in] 3 miles of the town I was all most nocked up with fatuge [fatigue]. I could harley retch the town, but with great difficulty I did rech the town with Isack, as I was not willing to be left behind. It was 9 a clock when we did rech the town of Arendel 16 miles. We traveld that day 38 miles. We got lodgins that night in a pobelick house. We was verry tiered. We got som supper and went to bead. Ouer bead was on a loft over head a stabel. There was no staiers to go up to it, but a lader.

Yearley in the morning about 4 a clock on the 13th we got up and dond ouer cloes, and was going down the lader, but I had forgot of the opening that was in the loft, I bing formost, but I mist my step and fell to the bottom of the lader on the ground. I fell on my right side of my hip. I laie some time on the ground before I could moove my self. My comered thoate I was dead. Isack came down the lader as quick as bosebel to my assistance and tock me up. I did not horte my self so bad as I did expect, but the frite was the worst. The stabel was beach with poppel [cobble] stones but ther was a lettel hors dong in the place when I fell wich saved me a littel. I fell about 7 feet from the loft to the ground. Isack coald the landlord and toweld him that his comred was allmost dead. So he got up and broate me into the dwelling house and bathed my hipp with warm vinger wich done it a deal of good.

So we remaind in the house untill 5 a clock and got ouer brekfast. Then began ouer jorna, but I was very stiff for some time until I got warm. At Chichester, a citty, we stopt half a nower to refrish ouer selfs, wich was 10 miles from Arendell. Then we traveld on to Emsworth a small town 7 miles, then to Havent a smal vilage 3 miles. Stopt there to have a pint of bear, then traveld on to Farnham [Fareham] a town, 9 miles. Stopt there to have a littel refrishment, then marchd to Southampton a large town in Hampshire. Farnham is in the same county. Southhampton is 10 miles from Farnham. It was between 7 and 8 a clock when we came to Southampton. I forgot to tell that we had a lift 8 miles in a waggon that day. We staid in a pobelick house half a nower to give the waggener somthing to drink.

A Wet Deception
Isack said that it was best for us to go on to Rid Bridge that night, a small vilage 3 miles from Southampton as we shod be farder on ouer road the next day. But before we had scarse gon one mile from Southampton, when Isack and I was walking along the road, it being darkish, the roade was verry weet and dorty as it had raind a deal that day. Isack said, Thomas come to the left, there is a nice road a lettel to the left, it appears nice and dry. I said go on, I will follow you. He made the best of his way to the nue road and I was following him as fast as posebel, but all of a sodan he foals into a frish watter river, over his head.

He cries out, Thomas help me, help me, for God's sake for I am in the middel of a river. I went immediately to his assistance and pulled him oute. He had not one dry thread on but what was weet. The rever was not verry deep, but he fell in from a high bank, so he was all onder watter. He was verry much fritend that [he] could not stand for som time. I braote him to the first poblick house we came on the left side of the road. As it happend there was one verry handey, so we got in to it and got lodgins. We had traveld that day with the lettel we road in the waggon 40 miles. This was a verry sivel house, we had verry good useage of it. The oman of the house broate a sute of her husband's cloes to my comred to put on while his was put by the fier to dry.

We had som super and went to bead, and rose up in the morning to proceed on ouer jorna. Isack's cloes was quite dry so we got ouer brekfast, and paide the landorde for our lodgins and returned her thanks for her sevelety [civility]. It being then a Sonday morning on the 14th day of December 1806. We travald to Saulsbury 21 miles. We came in to the cittey at one a clock, so we went in to a poblick house to get som vittels and drink. During the time we was in the house it came to hard rain and likely to be a wet evening, so I tried to perswade my comrade to stope in the house untill Monday, as it wod be bad travelling if it continued raining all the evening, as there was no other likehood. But he did insist upon going and I did made up my mind to stop. So he and I did parte for that time. I never soa a better traveler than he was. I was pertey good my silf, but he was better. He sed he wod be a tome [at home] before he slept, along with his wife. For it makes a great dreference when a man has got a wife, for he will do the outemost that is in his power when he has bin a long time from seeing his wife. Praps I med a don the same if I had a wife. I made my self verry comfortabel in the house all the evening. It was a wet evening for it raind all the time.

Soulsbury is a citty in Will shire. It has the highest speer to the Catheadral of eney in England. I went to bead after super and sleept verry comfortable. In the morning of the 15th after breckfast I was going to begin my jorna by my self, but ther came a one Corporal Wale of the same Company, and a nother soldier of the same Rigment, in to the house jest as I was going oute. So I went in with them to take share of a pott of bear. Then we 3 began ouer journy. We went as far as Warmster a town 22 miles. Went over part of Saulsbury Plaine. Ther is one road over this plain, 21 miles, and onely one house, half ways, it is coald the hutt.

We staid in Warmster one hower to have oure diner and then pursued on ouer jorna to Froom, a large town in Somerset shier, 7 miles, 29 miles we marchd that day. We put up at the sine of The Lam. The next day wich was the 16th, the Corporal and the other Yong man went a nother roade, so I was left alone agen. My old Comred gave me directions to coall at his house when I did com through Froom. I mean Isack Ledbury wich parted from me at Saulsbury a Sunday morning. I soon found him out and was invited to brekfast with him and his wife. She was a desant oman and behaved verry kind to me. I asked Isack when he reched home that night or not. He towld me that he did about a 11 a clock at night, so he marchd that day 50 miles. He could hardly move the next day.

I remaind in Froom untill one a clock, as it was a weet morning. I mitt [met] in the street 5 soldiers of the same Rigment wich was going to Wells, the next town. So we hierd a coverd cart, and baid 1s 6d a peace, to ride to Wells. We arivd at Wells between 5 and 6 clock in evening. 15 miles. We all put up at the Star inn, as it was my old quartars. All my comreds was recolvd to go home that night, but they was going a different road to what I was going. They had 8 miles to go, so they tock theyer leefe of me and proceeded on theyer jorna.

I got my sopper and went to bead, and the next morning being the 17th, I proceeding on my jorna towards Bristol, but my 2 sisters Margaret and Mary had removed from Bristol to a small vilage coald Chumagna [Chew Magna] 7 miles from Bristol, so I did inquier at a bobelick house on the road for this vilage. The landlord towld me I was but one mile from it, so in a short time reched the vilage. I went in to a pobelick house to refrish my self. I towld the landlord of the house that I had 2 sisters living in sarvis in the vilage. She asked of me their names and with who thay lived. I towld her they lived at a boarding school with one Miss Epsler. She towld me she knowd them verry well, so she sent her littel girl to coall my sister and in a short time she came, but did not expect to see me. She thought I had bin my brother Evan which livd in Bristol.

She was overgoayed to se me, and likewise my sister Marrey. I spent that day with them, and the best part of the next, as the scollars was gon home for the holidays. Chumagna is 12 miles from Wells. Late in the [lacuna] on the 18 tock my lefe of my sisters and came to Bristol 7 miles from Chumagna. I whent that night to my brother's, and the next day, the 20, I went to the contry to Tickinham to see my old master and old aquaintances. They was glad to see me. So the 21 I returned to Bristol 8 miles.

Hazardous Channel Crossing
I remaind in Bristol untill the 23 with my brother and sister-in-loa, waiting for a visel to go to Wales. I agread with on Captan Loide, wone of Tenby. I went on boarde the sloope on Sunday the 23rd of December 1806.

At 2 a clock in the evening I was to pay 5 shilins for my passage from Bristol to Tenbey in Pembrock shier. We went down the river that evening to Pill, and came to anker to waite for a faier winde. We ad on board 2 men passengers, and 2 woman, beside myself, wich made 5 passengers altogether. On the 24 we waid our anker, and set sail, but had a bad wind. On the 25th came to anker onder the English shore.

On the 26th we waid oucr anker and set saile but the wind keeps still against us. Wat we thought tidee it down the chanel, but on the 27th at night we had som high winds. We was then below the flats homens [holms], the sea ron verry high, and our bowsprit broock off cloes to the bow. So the Captan trid to make for the Harbour of Penarth, but we had hard work to reach to harbour becoas of ouer boulsprit being gon. But thank God we rechd the harboer at 8 a clock on Friday morning the 28 of December.

The Captain was going on shore to Cardiff to buy canvas to mend som of his sailes as they were much toare with the wind, so I went on shor with him to proceed on my jorna by land as I was tiered on bord becoase the winds med brove contry [might prove contrary] for 2 or 3 weeks, and before that time my forlo wod be expiered. So I landed at Cardiff the 28th, and was resolved to march by land. The Captan wod not bate me one farthing of the 5 shillings, so I paid him the money and began my jorna and had not traveld above 2 miles before 3 soldiers of the Glamorgan shier Militia overtock me when I [was] getting of a pint of ale in a pobclick house, they came from Bristol by land, thayer regment lay there. They where going to Swansea on forlo, that was just right for me as it was the same roade that I was going, as it is much better to have company along the road then to go alone, as the time passes away much beatter.

We traveld to Cowebridge, a town 12 miles from Cardiff. Cardiff is 3 miles from Penarth. In Cowebridge we got a return chaise for 1 shilin apeace, to a Inn on road coald Pile, 18 miles from Cowbridge. We went that day on the coach 22 miles. We got lodgins that night at Pile. The people was verry sivel to us. We had ouer soper and went to bead. We was charged verry resenably for everything that we coald for. The landlord towld us that there wod be a return chaise there about 12 or 1 a clock in the night and that for a trifell we might have a lift. We desiered to give us a coall when the chaise did com, and according to oardars he coall us about 12 a clock, so we got som ale to treat the coachman as he did [not] charge us enething.

We arivd at Bruton ferry before day, 15 miles. Aberavon is 20 miles from Coebridge. We past by Aberavon that morning. Bruton ferrey is 3 miles from Abaravon. The coach was going to Neeth, as it was the main road. But he towld us the nighest way was for us to go across the fierris to Swansa. So we lit oute of the coach and thanked the coach man, and went to Bruton ferry, but could not go over as it was not 4 a clock in the [lacuna]. Whe went to a pobelick house near the Ferry, but could git no entrance, so there was an old house near it with stroa in it. So went into it and covered ouerselves with stroa, for it was verry could. We slept in the stroa untill 7 a clock when there cam an old man into the house and waked us. The people of the pobelick house was up at that time, so we went in to have somthing to drink, for we wher jost starved with could.

Then we went across the ferry and went over the sands to Swansa 6 miles. We arrived at Swansa about 10 a clock in the morning. One of my comrades was a Corporal, so we all went to the New Inn to have som refrishment. The other 2 yong men lived 6 or 8 miles in the contry. When we enterd into the pobelick house, the Corporal's wife was very glad to see him. She was a sivel oman and made us all welcom. It cost me nothing in that house. I stopt there untill one a clock. Then whent on my jorna by myself. They cam with me oute of the town to see me on my jorna. I came to a small town coald Llughore [Loughor] 8 miles from Swansa. I had to cross a ferry. I went from there to Llanelly a small town in Carmarthin shire, 4 miles. Jost before I came into the town I mit with an old man, so I fell into discorse with him. He towld me that there was one James James a shoemaker worked in that town, I asked him if he could direct me to his lodgins. So he did, as that man was a perticuler aquaintance of mine.

I whent to his master's house where he worked, and found him at work. He was glad to see me. As soon as he had finished his work he went and got lodgins for me and went to a pobelick house to have som vittels and drink, but James was verry poor as I soon understod, so rather treated him in the room of him treeting me. After super I went to my lodgins and James coald me up yerly in the morning. So I paid for my lodgins and proceeded on my jorna, it being Sonday morning. I was resolved to go home that day, James came to company me 2 miles out of the town.

I came to Cidely [Kidwelly] a smal town. I stopt there to refrish myself for one ower at the Nue inn kept by Richard Thomas, an old aquaintance of mine. He was glad to se me and to eate som vittels, wich I did. Cidely is 8 miles from Llanely. Then I went on my jorna to Pillglase where I had to waite 2 owers for the ferry boate as the tide was oute. In the evening I crost the ferry to Llanstufon 4 miles from Cidely.

Baulked In Sight of Home
I did not stop in Llanstufon, but made the best of my way to Llaugharne Ferry to save the forde, but I was too late as the tide was jost before me, when I came on the scar [Black Scar].

I waited on the scar 2 full owers expecting the ferry boats to com to fetch over, but all to no purpass. For I hailed them severl times but they wod mak me no ancer. It was then dark night and came to hevey rain, so I did not know what to do. It grieved me verry much to think that I was within half a mile of my father's house and could not git home. I returned back to a farm house coaled Pantowin to see if I could git lodgins there, and if not, I shod bin forced to go hack to Llanstufon. I got to the door and nocked and a sarvant girl came to the door and towld me to please to com in.

The girl semed fritened at the aperince of a soldier after night. I got into the Citchin and in a short time the master of the house came to the Chitching. So I asked of him if he could let me lodge in one of his stabels for that night. He said that he did not like to turn out eney person in a bad night like that was, but he said that there was so maney poppel that did com to ask for lodgins that it was anuff to tier aney one. I said that there ortobe [ought to be] a bobelick house bilt on the scar for that purpos. He did not know me, but I knowed him verry well. His name was Mr Jones. He asked me if I was one of Larne. I toyld him that I was. He asked my name. I towld him my name. Then his wife came oute. She and he nue my father and mother extreemlly well. Mr Jones towld me that he sin my father last market day and that he was in good health. So I was asked into the barlor to supper with them, and I had a good bead to sleep on all night.

So the next morning the farmer went with me to the ferry, so in a short time I got over to Larne. I had bin absent from home 4 years and 8 months. In going down the town I accidentally met with my father. I new him, be he did not know me att forst, untill I spock to him, wich broate tears from the old man's eyes. I found all my frinds as wel as I left them. My mother was in a bad stat of health for severel years before and so she do remain at this time. My yongest sister Martha was atome with my father and mother. All my old aquaintans was verry glad to see me, particularly my old master and mistres, Mr and Mrs Hughes. I shant trobell the reader with the particulars during the time I remained in Larne, but I spent a Merry Crismas. My time was allmost expired, but I got my forlo renude for a fortnid by the Justice of the Peace.

I left my home on Thusday the 13 of Janewarry 1807. After leving my frinds in great grife as they did never expect to see me eney more. I had severl yong men and yong woman came to company as far as Saint Clears, a vilage 3 miles, and likewise my sister Martha. I being loth to part with my frinds and old acquaintance wich mad me stay in the vilage untill night. Then I barted with them and got into a road waggon wich broate me to Carmarthen that night. I lodged that night wheare the waggon put up at. Carmarthen is 9 miles from Saint Clers. Larne is 3 miles from Lanstufon. Carmarthen is a larg town.

On the 14 it came to hevey rain wich did contin[ue] all week. Obliged to remain in Carmarthen that day. I had severl acquaintances in that town. That day I fell in with 2 solders of the Carmarthen shier Militia going to forlo to the opper part of the county, as their Rigment laie in Havordwest. So the 15 we began ouer jorna. We halted at Llandilo-voure to refrish ouerselves, 15 miles from Carmarthen. Then marchd on for Llandufery, but after bing a boute 6 miles from Llandilo-voure my comreads parted from me, as they was going a nother roade. I went on verry lonsom untill I came within 2 miles of Llandufery, it being allmost night, and I so a larg gentelman's seate on the left side of the road.

Bed and Breakfast at a Mansion
I met a woman in the road, so I inquierd what was the name of the seat. She towld me it was Loineabrain [Llwynybrain] and knew a young oman wich did live ther. So I made bould to coal to see her. So I was made verry welcom and remaind there all night as the famely was gon from home, only she and one servant besides. She wod make me to stop to have my breekfast the next morning before I barted with her. I must own I never was dealt with such civility before in my life. So after breakfast I barted with them and returnd them thanks for their civility. I had 2 miles to go [to] Llandufry. Llandufry is 12 miles from Llandilo-voure. I went on alone as far as Trecastel in Brecknock shier 9 miles. When I enterd Trecastel I went into a bobilick house to have a pint of ale. There was a yong man dressd in colored cloes. I fell into discors with him. He towld me that he was a officer's sarvant belonging to the Monmouth and Brrocknock shier Militia, and that he was on forlo to see his frinds at Brecknock. He sed that he was going to Brecknock that evening and he wod bear me company if I wod wait a coppel of owers, as I do expect to have a lift in a return chaise. llwynybrain.thumb.jpg

So I waited and we dind together, and after diner, he spoke to the driver of the return chaise, to give him and me a lift to Brocknock. The driver towld us to git up behind the coch, that he wod take no notis of us, if the pasageners did not, for there was 2 gentelmen wich was to join the coch. So we don according to orders, and in a fue owers arrivd at Brocknock 11 miles.

Jest before we came in to the town we leet from behind the coach and went in to a boblick house in the town, the sine of the Shoulder of Muton. In a short time cochman came in, so we gave him a port of bear a peace. During the evening there was severll gentelmen drinking in the house. They asked me severl questans and when they found that I had so far to travel, they treated me all the night, with what I wishd to eate or drink.

On of the gintelmen towld if I had a mind to have a lift on the Maill coch I must git up at 12 a clock at night as the maill did set off at that ower. He said that he wod speck to the driver as he was the [?passenger] of the coch, and that I must get uteside of the town, and that he wod take me up. I thanks him and went to bead and at half past a 11, the servant maid could me up and I ask she what was to pay for my lodgins. She towld me nothing, so I don according to ordars, and went oute side of the town and in a short time the mail cam by and took me up. There was a soldier on the coch, belong to the Carmarthen shier Militia. He was going on forlo to Bristol as he had married a wife there when the Rigment lay there.

We went through Crickhowell a town 12 miles, and yearly in the morning went through Abergavenny in Monmouth shier 8 miles. We came on as far as a Garge Inn on the road where we was to turn of, 2 miles befor Abergaveny. That was 32 miles we came on the coch, in 7 owers, beside what time we holted to change horses on the roade. We paid the cochman 1s 6d each of us, and remaind in the inn for one ower to have som refrishment. Then my comrade and I set out on ouer jorna, and arrived at Shepstoe [Chepstow] about a 11 clock, 8 miles. We holted there one ower, then march to the old basage 3 miles. Jost before we came within a mile of the pasage we mitt with a gentelman. He towld us to make great hast as the boat was going off in the coars of 10 minets.

So we made the best of our way, and when we came with site of the boat it was gonoff about 200 yards. Thay towld us thay wod not com back without we give them 2 shilens a piece. The fare was but 10 pence. So we considerd with ouerselves it was better to give the money then to remain at the inn until the next day, as they charge an exstronery prise for everything at shuch places as that, becoase they know well we cod go no place else. So we towld the boat man that we wod give the 2s, and in the corse of 20 minutes we got safe over. It is one mile and a half across the passage. When we landed on the other side we was in Gloster shier in England. We coaled at the Inn to have a pott of bear and in the mene time the coch was going off to Bristol. So we got on the coch and paid 1s 6d each of us for the faier. We arivd at Bristol at 4 a clock in the evening, 12 miles. After coming 55 miles since 12 a clock the night before, it being then Saturday the 17th of January 1807. I lodged that night with James Jordain.

The next morning, being Sonday, I went to Chumagna to see my sisters 7 miles from Bristol. I remaind there untill Monday evening, so took my leefe of my sisters and returned to Bristol. I was not verry well at that time so I went to a surgan of the North Gloster shier Militia and reported myself sick. I was admitted into the Regment Hospital in Castel Green. My brother and sister in Bristol came severel times to see me, and likewise sent to my sisters in the contry to let them know that I was ill. My sister Margret came to see me as soon as she could get liberty, but the day she came I was lett out of the hospital. The next day I went 3 miles with my sister to company her part of the road home. So toock my lef of her. She was verry sorry to parte with me, but littel did I think that I should be more then 7 years before I should see eney of my frinds agen.

I returnd to Bristol and went to Gienerall Thampan as he command [ed] in Bristol at that time. He gave me a route of discrishon to join my regment at my lisher [leisure] and to drove billats on road the route specefide, that I was to draw eney money I should want on the road. I recivd 1 Pound at that present time.

Aboard The London Coach
I whent to the Coch offices that night and boocked my self for Louton [?London] for wich I paid 11s 6d for the faier, 100 and 20 miles. I could not travel it for that money for it would take me 6 dayes to march it, and it did not cost much for expences along the road for wint in so short a time. There was a yong man, an oulde aquaintans of mine wich was going to London, he boocked his self the same time. His name was Bangman (Benjamin) Wilkin.

We both set off from the Apel Tree in Broud Mead, about a 11 a clock in the forenoon on the 3rd day of Feberry. Ben bing on the coach between a hors soldier and my self for fear of the Press Gang, as he was a sailor and in a sailor's dress. If he had bin atacked we meand to say that he was a desartar from the 10 lite Hors Rigment and that we had him in charge. Ther was a officer of the Gang came down the street while we was on the coch waiting for the inside Pasagers to git ready, but seeing him betwin 2 soulders he said nothing but loocked verry hard on him.

Nothing hapand extronery durin ouer jorna only about 12 a clock at night Ben fell asleep on the coch and jumped up in a frite on the top of the coch and said Let me walk on the deck. He was jost sliping off the coch when I laid hould of him by the legg, and puld him back. If he had a stept over the side of the coch, the weels wod a sartnly gon over him. He lost his hatt he said overboard, so when we came to Brentford we advised Ben to site for fraid of the Gang, wich he did. He was going to see his father wich lived in the country near London. I let Ben have my hat, for I had a hat and cap. Went in to London aboute one a clock on the 5th day of the month. The coch but up at the White Horse Siler in Pickedely.

I remained in London untill the 8th as I had som aquaints to see. The Lite horse man and I slept together that night at the White Horse in the Strand. The next day he parted with me, to go to his Rigment, as he was not going the same road as I was going. I went to see a fue ould nabours of mine wich livd in London wich beaved [behaved] verry kind to me, butciler [particularly] Elizabeth Griffis and Hester Howell and William Howell and Elizabeth Lewis. They where all glad to see me but sorry to see me a soldier.

I left London on the 8th and marchd the first day to Croidon, 10 miles. I droad a bilate in that town. I was quartard at the sine of the Roayel Oake. Croidon is in the county of Surry. I had verry bad quartars in that town. The 9, I marchd to Godstone 10 miles, quartard at the Hare & Hound.

Gin and Slap
The 10th, marchd to East Greensted 10 miles, in the county of Sussex. I was quartd at the Ship. I had so good a quarter in this town as ever I had in my life. When I went into the house there was an ould miler drinking there. He semed to be a droal cind of a fellow. He said that there was no man that could stand before him, he said that he wod give eney man the first slap in the face for one giney. He gave me a slap in the face. Before I could loock round, the landlord coald me a wan side and toweld me to pretend to be verry much offended and that he wod give me plenty to drink, as it was his way all wayes to strangers. So I pretended to be very much afrontid with him. So he said if I wod make it up I should have 2 glasses of gin. So I got the 2 glasses of gin and we was good frinds for somtime untill he forgot what was past. He gave me another slap in the face. So I was more afronted then ever. So I wod not make it up withoute 2 glasses for me and on for the landlord. So drank 2 glasses more, and the landlord one. He allways drank one his self, as the gin bottel was allways handy. He had blinty of money. There was another soldier quartard in the house and he served him the same. So he got on so fast with the slaps in the face that the gin bottel whent round pretty quick and likewise his money bagan to wast. He kept on in that maner for 3 owers untill he got too drunk to act eney more. I drank about 12 or 13 glasses of gin and likewise the other soldier, and the landlord had his bellyfull for he left one bottel full on the tabbell before he went to sleep allridey paid for.

After supper I went to bead and the next morning I got a good brekfast before I bagan my march. I asked what I had to pay. The landlord towld me nothing. I had 3 good meals, vittels, 2 pints of beer and glass of gin in the morning before I started all for nothing, besides what the ould miler gave me. So I think I came off well in that house.

I travald that day to Lewis, a large town 30 miles. Billated at the White Swan, it being could wether all the way as there was a good deal of snow on the ground. The 12, I march to a vilage coaled Newhaven 7 miles. I lodge at the White Hart, a verry sivel house, the next day bing the 13 of Febary 1807 joind the Rigt at Blatchington Barracks 3 miles. Thay where in the same place where I left them. I had bin abstant 2 months.

I gave in my forlo and my vou[cher] to the Command Office, everthing was well, I bing on [duty] for som time after having my liberty so long. I thought it hard to be compeld to time but at oare [it wore] off by degrees. The 7th of Aprel I went with a detachment to Crockmare [?Cuckmere] Barracks, 3 miles, to do duty there over smuglars.. Remaind there 1 month, then returnd to Blatchington. On the 23rd of June I went with a eascord to Brighton with one desartar. Was quartard at the Gray-Hound, and returnd the next day to Blatchington, 14 miles. The 8th of July recivd the route to march to Stening Barracks. We marchd on Wensday the 15 of July. The first day marchd to Brighton, 14 miles. I was quartard at the Nue Inn. Holted the 16. The 17, marchd to Steyning Barracks, 10 miles, through a small Sinquin [cinque] town called Brembow [Bramber], 2 miles before we came to Steyning.

Steyning is a small town in the county of Sussex. On the 11 of August 1807 we marchd to Brighton camp 10 miles. When we marched on the camp ground it came to a verry hard shuer of rain, that before we could be dismist we was well to the skin wich made it verry disagreabel to us to pich ouer tents. The Rigments wich lay in camp with us was the Roayel Barkshier Militia and the 3rd or King's Dragoons Gards. On the 12 was revoude by the Prince of Wales and Duke of York near Brighton. All the regments wich was revoude was the Roayel lin Atelerry, and Roayel Navey Atelerry, and the 1st and 3rd Kings Dragoons Guards, and the 14th Light Hoarse, and the Roayel Bark Shier Militia, and the Roayel Chesher Militia, and the South Gloster shier Militia, and the 2nd Somerset Militia the regment wich I did belong to.

Broock up camp August the 13th and marchd to Steyning Barracks. Brighton is a verry poppoles town, for this late years the Prince of Wales most comonly resorts here for the batheing seson, likewise a great nomber of qualatey for the benefit of thay health.

A Worthy Prophecy
On Sunday the 16th of Augt William Gay and I went on Liberty to Worghing, a fine vilage on the sea coast of Sussex for batheing, 7 miles from Steyning. We had the blesher of seeing the Princis of Wales, as she mostly resorts at Worthing for the batheing seson as it is a most pleasand vilage I ever soa, and I dare say it will be a large place in the coars of time as there is a great deal of bildings going on there. We returned to Steyning in the evening after a plesand walke.

About this time there was great talks of a volentering in the Line out of the Militias. I had a great inclination to volenter as I did wish to see som foring parts, for what is ordained for a man to go through he must goe. On the 21st of August 1807 the orders came to the rigment for volentering. The order was read in front of the rigment, so I and William Gay gave in our names to volenter in the 9th Regment of futt. We was the 2 first men in the rigment wech gave in our names.

On Saturday the 22nd we was all to be soring [sworn] in. I hard that my ould Captan, Captan Clark, had volenterd in the 40th and that he had paid a wager with the offecers in the Mess room that he wod git more men to goe with [him] in the 40th Rigment than Captan Broaten wod git to go with him in the 9th Regment. There was a yong man that had voluntered in the 40th, and afterwards his brother volenterd in the 9th, so he went to the officers to try to git off from the 40th to the 9th with his brother. So he got liberty to chang with eny person. I went the same time to Captan Clark to try to go with him in the 40th, so the Captan was verry glad, and I and the other man changed. I was dested [?attested] in the 40th Rigment of futt, and he went in the 9th Regment of futt. So I parted with my ould comred William Gay. He was verry sorry to Bart with me, and I with him.

My ould townsman Alick Jordain offered me 3 gines if I wod not volenter but I towld him I would not droa back from my [w]ord, if he was to give 10. He was [troubled] verry much about me. He did not know what to do. He said my frinds wod blame him for me volentering. I towld him that I did lay no blame to him. It was my own wish to goe, and go I wod. We(11) he said if it was my intenshion to go, he wod go along with me. So he went to try to goe but he wod not be aloude to go becoase he was a taylor, for they [want] all the taylors to make the clothen for the regment, expecting [?excepting] som poor hands they left goe.

I was dested on the 22 of August 1807 in The 40th Regment of futt for 7 years. Had 10 gines bounty. On Sonday the 23 of Augt the hoale of the volenters marchd to Horsham wich was abointed for the randvose [rendezvous] of all the volenters in the district. All the prisent regment wich ouer Regt had to volenter in was the 9th, the 11th, the 13th, the 40th, and 74th.

In the 9th we had volenterd 122, in the 11th 2 men, 13th, not one; 40th 164, and the 74th 1 man. 290 Privats, 4 Sargants and 5 Corprels, and 3 officers wich volenterd out of the 2nd Somerset Militia at that time. On Sunday morning the 23rd we march off for Horsham 14 miles. Horsham is the county town for Sussex. We had the band to play us 2 miles on the roade, and almost all the Regment to wish us well as they were all sorrey to part with us. We receved one half of ouer bounty, the remainder we was to recivd wen we joind the rigt. Alicksander Jordain came to Horsham with me and severel more of my ould comreads to see the last of us.

Durin the time I remaind in Horsham there was som live deverishon [lively diversion] as the men was full of merth. Every Gentelman's carage they could find thay took Boseager [passenger] off, som got inside wile others acted as horses to ron through the street, with all kind of musock, some men start naked with thayer skinn painted difrent colers, some boate severl lites, and eate it for a wagger, others roasted a catt alive and eate it, som roasting a Goos fethers and guts, and eats it as it was. Everry popelick house in the town was open for one week day and night. One day there went one drole fellow with a fue of his comereds to the house of Corectshon and beged of the jaylor if he wod grant him one favour. The jaylor asked what it was, he made ancer and asked of him if he wod be so kind as to hang him as he wanted to die. The jaylor desiered of him to wait a littel wile longer as it was not his turn yet. He said that he could not waite no longer, so he went to a shop and boate a nue roape, and went in to a bobelick house and one of his comreds torned hangman. He hong for a long time untill he was 3 parts dead. Then they cott him down and laide him out like a dead man. He lay for half a nower and never moved, as pale as deth. I thought realy he was dead. At last he jompt up all at wance, and said he was verry dry, that he wod not be dead .... er, oute all the drinking, there was no fiting all the time, nothing but brotherly love.

On the 1st of September we march to Petworth 18 miles, quartard at the Half Moon. The 2nd marched to Chichister a city in Sussex 14 miles, quartard at the White Hart. On the 3rd marchd through Emsworth a town of 7 miles, then to a village coald Havant 3 miles, then to Hillsea Barracks near Portsmouth 4 miles, that was 14 miles marchd that day. We had to wait at Hill Sea for som time untill the transports was ready to take us to Ierland. Now my trobels begins to com on for I nowed but littel aboute souldiering at that time, for after I had bin abroade for som time I countid all the time I was in the Malitia nothing but blesher to what it was to be a Regeler Soldier. So I think I shall be abel to give the Reader a littel more intertainment in the next vollom wich will be the largest.

Capn Clark gave us Eight gines to drink at Portsmouth.

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