Arch. Stuart, Lieut. 62 Regt, his signature from a memorial of service dated Québec, Canada, 17 July 1777

 

Nationality: Scottish
Born: unknown
Regimental commission dates:
Lieutenant, 1 March 1776
Killed: Battle of Bemis Heights, 7 October 1777

 

In March 1776, British regiments which were serving in America and Canada formed two additional companies which remained in Britain or Ireland and worked to recruit new men for their respective regiments. When completed (or otherwise called for), the core of an additional company was sent to join its parent regiment in order to provide the new recruits necessary to maintain the regiment's established strength. Upon joining, the additional company was usually dissolved and the men drafted into the various eight battalion companies. Generally, the officer(s) who delivered the recruits stayed with the regiment while officers of the same rank took their place, returning home to join the additional company and begin the process over again.

Archibald Stuart served as an officer for a long time before joining the 62nd Regiment, having originally been appointed to a lieutenancy in the 88th Regiment of Foot on 10 October 1759. A severe leg wound forced him to transfer into Captain Lind's Independent Company of Invalids, but after persistant application he was transferred from that corps to Captain Richard Baily's additional company of the 62nd Regiment on 1 March 1776. Stuart's new position was that of recruiting officer. Ordered to join the 62nd Regiment serving overseas in the spring of 1777, Stuart embarked for Canada aboard the 244-ton transport vessel Isabella and Dorothy, along with fellow 62nd Regiment additional company officer Ensign George Taylor. It was aboard this vessel that these two officers became embroiled in one of the few crown forces mutinies of the war.

For reasons unknown, both Stuart and Taylor were placed aboard the Isabella and Dorothy transport with a 108-man contingent of unarmed German recruits destined for the Braunschweig light infantry battalion von Bärner, a unit which was also serving in General Burgoyne's army. This large batch of recruits, shepherded by a serjeant, was otherwise without an officer. Before departing Portsmouth, England, a detachment of 19 armed German Hessen-Hanau jägers—commanded by a corporal—were put aboard in order to police the “discontented” unarmed Braunschweig recruits. This combined Braunschweig and Hessen body was under the command of both Stuart and Taylor who, as perhaps expected, “did not understand one word of German.” Three days after setting sail, the Isabella and Dorothy was separated from the rest of her transport convoy and later during the journey was attacked by a rebel vessel near Newfoundland, which was successfully repulsed. The skirmish nevertheless struck fear throughout the ranks of the German soldiers on board, who were terrified of being unable to defend themselves and being captured by the enemy. According to a report later filed to Erbprinz Wilhelm, Landgraf of Hessen-Hanau, by Hessen-Hanau jäger corps commander Lieutenant-Colonel Carl von Creutzbourg, in a letter dated near Québec City, 11 July 1777:

Following the [action against the rebel vessel], the Braunschweig recruits united and, by intimidating the two officers [Stuart and Taylor], forced them to steer the ship towards the coast in order pick up a man of war as a convoy. They sailed to the Bay of St. Placentia off Newfoundland. After a few days they departed without a convoy. Unfortunately, the [Hessen-Hanau] jägers also came forward during this conspiracy, but Corporal Mayer remained aloof.


While nothing otherwise came of this mutiny, and the Isabella and Dorothy joined another convoy in the St. Lawrence River likewise destined for Québec on 7 July, that was not the end of it. Although von Creutzbourg opined that “the English officers may not complain,” they did just that. One of them, probably Stuart (being senior), reported the incident to Commander-in-Chief Sir Guy Carleton, who ordered severe punishments for all the German conspirators. Despite the fact that Corporal Mayer was initially exonerated by Stuart and Taylor for any role in the plot, both later testified that all 19 of the Hessen jägers joined the Braunschweig recruit conspiracy. Mayer was “chained in a double-up position for 24 hours,” while the other Germans each “received forty blows with a stick.”

After reaching Québec, Stuart wasted little time compiling a memorial of service to General Carleton in an attempt to better his position in the officer corps. The memorial, dated 17 July 1777, stated that he:

...was appointed a first Lieut the 10th October 1759 in the late 88th Regt of Foot commanded by John Campbel Esqr Lieut Collonel Commandant, your memorialist served the most of the late war in Germany, where he was shot through the leg at the Battle of Campen the 16th of October 1760 lay all night upon the field was taken & remained prisoner six months in the French hands—

your memorialist was put on half pay in 1763 the Regt being then Reform'd, he made several applications to go upon service, my Lord Barrington appointed him a Lieut to a Invalid Company but finding that Inactive life not suitable to his Inclination my Lord Barrington put him into the 62 Regt

your memorialist being Inform'd no promotion is given Except to those immediately with their Respective Regts

your memorialist most humbly prays that in consideration of his long services & his being wounded in the service your excellency would be pleased to order him to join his Regt.

Unfortunately, Stuart's request was accepted. After settling affairs in Canada and taking charge of the 62nd Regiment's recruits there, Stuart and George Taylor began their march into New York (along with additional companies belonging to the other British regiments, which were similarly officered) and joined Burgoyne's army on 3 September 1777, little more than two weeks before the Battle of Freeman's Farm. According to extracts from the general orders of Burgoyne's army:


2 September:
The Additional Companies are expected in Camp tomorrow.

3 September:
The Additional Companies to be divided among the eight Battalion Companies of each Regiment…. The officers of the Additional Companies are to be posted until further Orders to the weakest Companies, and where there is a captain he is to have the Command of a Company whose Captain is absent and cannot be supposed to join this Campaign….

5 September:
Such Regiments as have Supernumeraries are immediately to complete their Grenadier and Light Infantry companies. The additional men…are to be exercised from seven to nine every morning, and from three to five every afternoon. In their exercisings they will fire ball occasionally.


Only weeks later, Stuart found himself fighting in the Battle of Freeman's Farm on 19 September 1777 and the Battle of Bemis Heights on 7 October 1777. James Green, Serjeant-Major of the 62nd Regiment in 1777, wrote a series of letters 1780-1781 to a Mr. R. Bainton (National Army Museum), and in two of them, Stuart was the topic interest:


Lieutenant Stuart of the 62nd Regt, whom you enquire after I know perfectly well. He has served in an invalid Company at Hull. He came out from England and arrived with an additional Company at Quebec in the Summer '77, and joined the Regiment at Fort Edward. Soon after he joined, the Army marched forward, and he was appointed as acting Major of Brigade to General Hamilton's Brigade only the day before the memorable 19th Sept which put a period to his existence.

Lieutenant Stuart was held in good esteem by the Field Officers and Regiment in general. He was appointed of Genl Hamilton's Brigade, in consequence of orders from Genl Burgoyne, which run thus 'It is expected the Army will fall in with the Enemy in a few days—in case of an Action the Lieutenant General (Burgoyne) is to be found near the Centre of the Army. An intelligent Officer from each Brigade is to attend the General to carry Orders to his own Brigade.'


Green was captured by rebels in the Battle of Freeman's Farm (19 September 1777). Although he eventually learned of Stuart's death, which according to official casualty returns occurred in the Battle of Bemis Heights (7 October 1777), Green probably did not know of the circumstances firsthand and therefore was in error regarding the date of Stuart's death. Ensign Henry Blacker received Lieutenant Stuart's lieutenancy the day after his death.

 

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