Josh Alder Surgns m, his signature from the Parole of Honor, 13 December 1777


Nationality: English
Born: ca.1741
Regimental warrant/commission dates:
Surgeon's Mate, 25 December 1769
Surgeon, 7 November 1792
Captured: Saratoga, New York, 17 October 1777 (Convention Army)
Died: unknown


Joseph Alder served as the 62nd Regiment's venerable surgeon's mate (or “mate”) for almost 23 years. He and the regiment's surgeon, Alexander Moodie, no doubt received considerable experience during the course of 1777, especially following the deadly Battle of Freeman's Farm (19 September 1777) and the Battle of Bemis Heights (7 October 1777). Alder surrendered with the rest of Lieutenant-General Burgoyne's Army at Saratoga on 17 October 1777.

Enumerated on the Return of the Officers, Non Commissioned Officers & etc Sick and Invalids of the Convention Troops under the command of Major General Phillips to go by Sea and Land to New York and to be left behind [in Cambridge], dated Cambridge, Massachusetts, 3 December 1778 (Horatio Gates Papers), Alder, along with Hospital Mate Benjamin Shield and four nurses, was tasked with attending to those severely sick and wounded Convention Army officers and men who were being transported to the City of New York by sea. Alder was able to achieve an exchange at least as early as July 1779, and soon after returned to Britain. He eventually rejoined the rest of the repatriated regiment in England by July 1781. Alder stayed with the regiment during its period of post war reorganization, and he ended up being one of the regiment's longest serving officers.

With the 62nd Regiment's deployment to Jamaica, Alder's stagnant, longstanding service as mate to the regiment became a subject of inquiry by the Surgeon-General 's office, as expressed in a letter to Alder dated London, 26 September 1791:



I am directed by the Surgeon General to acquaint You that he has observed You to have been Surgeon's Mate to the 62d Regiment since 1769, and he being desirous that the Regimental Mates should be promoted in the Service as far as the same is practicable, he begs You will be pleased to furnish him with an Account of your Education, and the Reasons (if You are able to assign any,) why You have continued in the same Station so long.


Although Alder's response has not been located, it must have proven satisfactory. In a letter to the secretery-at-war from the surgeon-general, John Hunter, dated 12 July 1792, it was recommended that "Surgeon's Mate Joseph Alder of the 62d Regiment in Jamaica" should be promoted to "Hospital Mate." Although transferred to the army's general hospital in Jamaica, Alder soon after returned to the regiment in order to succeed to the position of surgeon which was vacated due to Moodie's death that August. But it appears that Alder had enough of the regiment he served with for nearly one quarter century, and Hunter was prompted to write another recommendation, this one in order to promote someone else "to be Surgeon to the 62d Regiment of Foot, in the room of Surgeon Alder, who prays to return to the Station of Hospital Mate." Alder's wish was granted; on 17 July 1793, he was replaced as regimental surgeon by William Lempriere and became "surgeon to the staff" at Jamaica.