A King’s German Legion Officer Remembers 1811

The following is an extract from a book published by Henry Colburn in 1827, entitled “Journal of an Officer in the King’s German Legion”.

“After 8 days stay in London, which soon flitted by, in the midst of business and pleasure, I had repaired to Bexhill, the point of rendez-vous for our battalion.”

“This town is 65 miles distant from London, on the sea coast, in the county of Sussex. Until the late years, it was a very inconsiderable place indeed, consisting of a few houses only, and owes its present advancement to the dignity of a Market Town to the French threats of invasion, which occasioned several Barracks to be constructed here, as a point well calculated for the stationing of numerous bodies of troops.”

“The extraordinary heat of the year 1811 celebrated as the comet year, which relaxed not until the month of October, actually made me believe that I 
was still in Portugal, and rendered me anxious for 
the approach of winter, which found us still in Bexhill till the 12th of December, when orders arrived for us to hold ourselves in readiness to proceed once more to Portsmouth in order to embark whence for Sicily.”

“Our battalion had, by this, increased to 800 men, in consequence of the incorporation of numerous French deserters. This reinforcement was in truth necessary since the English were so blockaded out from Germany that it was impractical to obtain recruits from the natural source – Hanover. But it is inconceivable how much trouble was incurred in teaching these men to exercise, since they knew scarcely one word of German, but still less, if possible, of English.”

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