35th (Sussex) Regiment of Foot - Napoleonic Wars
The French Revolution threatened to upend the entire ancient order of Europe, and as such, coalitions to stop the French were formed, spearheaded by the British, the most implacable enemy of France. When Napoleon Bonaparte crowned himself Emperor of the French in 1804, the French Revolutionary Wars became the "Napoleonic" Wars. Brief periods of peace interrupted a nearly continuous state of conflict until Napoleon's final defeat at Waterloo in 1815. King George III, who had been blamed for the loss of the American colonies in 1783, prosecuted the war against revolutionary and later imperial France with vigor until failing health saw his son, the future George IV, take over as Prince Regent. The United Kingdom fielded armies of its own in the Mediterranean, Egypt, Spain, North America, and the Low Countries while financing the armies of allied European powers on the continent. The final victory over France secured the "Pax Britannica" and the United Kingdom's near-superpower status for the balance of the 19th Century during the Victorian era.
Formed to recognize and commemorate the bicentennial of the Napoleonic Wars and the War of 1812 in America, the Royal Sussex Society's Napoleonic branch recreated the 35th (Sussex) Regiment as it was during this tumultuous era in history--a period which ultimately defined the modern western world.
Napoleonic Regimental History
- 1803 - War breaks out with France again. The regiment's colonel, General Henry Fletcher, dies in March after 48 years of service in the 35th. 35th remains stationed in Malta.
- 1804 - The colonel, Charles Lennox, 4th Duke of Richmond, who had been recruiting largely from Sussex, gets permission for the 35th to change its name from "The Dorsetshire Regiment" given to the regiment in 1782 to the "Sussex Regiment." Napoleon crowns himself Napoleon I, Emperor of the French.
- 1805 - To counter the French threat, the 2nd Battalion of the 35th is raised again and filled with volunteers from the Militia. It is commanded by Brevet Lt. Col. Petit and Brevet Major Bunbury. 1/35th lands in Naples on November 20th along with other British units and 14,000 Russians.
- 1806 - French fleet arrives in Naples, forcing allied withdrawal in January. 1/35th garrisons the fortress at Melazzo in southern Italy. British force advances on Maida on July 4 with Italian reinforcements. At the Battle of Maida, the French army is defeated with 700 casualties to the British losses of 45 KIA and 282 wounded. After a short, brilliant campaign, the regiment is quartered in Melazzo again. 2/35th under Maj. Lorenzo Moore joins the 1/35th at Melazzo from England. Both battalions occupy the citadel of Messina to defend passage to Sicily.
- 1807 - Britain declares war on Turkey. 1/35 and 2/35th part of the 2nd Brigade under Col. Oswald and leaves Messina for Alexandria, Egypt. Allied forces advance on El-Hamet, where they are routed by overwhelming superior numbers. "...on my recovery, found the enemy in the square, engaged in a fierce contest with about a dozen soldiers of the 35th and 78th Regiments, who had obstinately refused to delivery up their arms, and who were eventually slain," describes Capt. Macalister of the 35th. All wounded are taken prisoner by the Turks and most die shortly thereafter, following brutal treatment. Remaining prisoners are exchanged in Cairo in September. British withdraw after a few abortive attempts at other positions back to Sicily. 35th returns to Melazzo.
- 1808 - Intense skirmishing along the southern Italian regions. 2/35th returns to England.
- 1809 - British expedition advances on Fortress Procida, which capitulates without a shot. 2/35th embarks for Holland and takes Flushing. Fever devastates British army, killing 8,000. British force returns to England on Christmas in terrible condition, wracked with illness. Meanwhile, 1/35th under Lorenzo Moore takes part in the Ionian Island campaign, capturing and garrisoning Cephalonia and receiving the thanks of His Majesty.
- 1810 - Ionian campaign continues, 35th Foot captures Santa Maura with Italian and Greek allies. Lt. Col. Oswald receives awards and thanks from Zante, Cephalonia, Ithaca, and Santa Maura for liberating them from the French.
- 1811 - Regiment remains in garrison.
- 1812 - Capt. Henry Rutherford of the 35th leads a company with some marines against the French at Cape Ceste in the Adriatic Sea. The Island of Lissa falls in April, expedition returns to Zante.
- 1813 - 1/35th liberates most of the Adriatic and the British join the Austrians in ousting the French from northern Italy from Fiume to Genoa. 2/35th part of British expedition to the Netherlands again, lands at Bergen-Op-Zoom.
- 1814 - Allies capture Antwerp in Holland. British attempt to take Bergen-Op-Zoom, but it is a disaster, 35th covers the British retreat. Skirmishing continues until April, when Napoleon abdicates and is exiled to Elba. British leave Sicily and the 1/35th occupies Corfu, Albania.
- 1815 - Napoleon returns to France and begins the 100 Days Campaign. British forces in the Netherlands scramble to reassemble. General Lennox (35th) is placed in command of the British reserve at Hal. Battle of Waterloo defeats Napoleon once and for all. While the 2/35th Regiment is not heavily engaged in the battle, it participates in the reduction of the remaining fortresses on the route to Paris. Napoleon is exiled to St. Helena, where he remains for the rest of his life. Allied forces occupy France, 2/35th retires to England, then to Ireland. 1/35th remains in the Ionian Islands before returning the next year.