Edward Richards (1790 to 1866)
part one

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This is the story of Edward Richards, eldest son of William Richards and his wife Sarah formerly Merriman.  He was a brother of Mathew Richards born 1808 who is my direct ancestor as are of course their aforementioned parents.

1790.  7 MarchRadford, Nottinghamshire.
Edward Richards, eldest son of William and Sarah Richards formerly Merriman was baptised at Greasley Parish Church.

1791 to 1808.  His parents and their eight children were living in Radford, Nottingham.  The evidence being that their seven other children were born and baptised in Radford during these years and William Richards, their father, died there in 1808.

During this period Edward Richards, the subject of this chapter, joined the army.  Although I have researched his army career in the Muster and Pay Rolls month by month from his enlistment to discharge, it is not intended to record all that information in this chapter.  However, certain important periods will be recorded because they record part of the history of the Peninsula War.

1804.  1 March.
This is a date being recorded in the Royal Horse Artillery Pay records in September and October 1814 as being the date Edward Richards inlisted for the army.  However, as will be seen later, his is stated to have inlisted 19 October 1805.

1805.  19 OctoberNottingham.
Edward Richards, Inlisted by Col. Sgt. Forsley to the Royal Regiment of Artillery.

At that time, Edward Richards was stated to have been born in Greasley, Nottinghamshire and was aged 16 years, his occupation being a F.W.K. (Framework Knitter).  His nationality was England.  His physical description was height 5ft. 4. 1/2 inches, of fair ccomplexion with brown hair and hazle coloured eyes.  He could read and write. (P.R.O.Ref: WO.69 / 5.  Page 100).

Alongside, the details in the last paragraph contained in that document is further information as follows: From 6 Battn.  also in pencil records:  H. three times faint pencil writing.  16 Feb. 1809.  Died at Plymouth.  Also records in red ink: "24 Nov.1808.  Reduced".

Note:  This man is one of my ancestors but this Edward Richards did not die at Plymouth.  The last two lines above refer to another man of the same name who was in the Royal Artillery at the same time as my ancestor Edward Richards.  The word reduced in this context may mean "taken out of active service - because of sickness"!  I do not know.

I have researched Edward Richards monthly from 1805 to October 1814 on the Muster and Pay Rolls for the Royal Artillery and latterly the Royal Horse Artillery and have followed his journey through the Peninsula War.  During the early years of his service he was a Driver in the Corps of Gunners and Drivers in the Royal Regiment of Artillery.  Subsequently he was in the Royal Horse Artillery

1809.  Spring season.
The Spring of 1808 had witnessed the rising of the Spanish people against Napoleon, who had placed his brother Joseph on the throne in Madrid.  Under Sir Arthur Wellesley later Lord Wellington, 9000 British troops, subsequently increased to nearly 30,000, sailed from Portugal.  In the Peninsula, the gunners, and more especially the R. H. A., were to come into their own.

1809.  April.
Edward Richards was in "H" Troop.  Capt. W.H.Humphreys  4th. Division at Chatham Lines.  He is shown as number 58 on both the Pay Roll (no pay recorded) and Muster Roll.  The latter records: Driver - Portugal and "Left out of the May Muster Roll by mistake."

1809.  May.
There is no mention of Edward Richards but this has been explained on the previous months (April 1809) Muster Roll.

1809.  June.
Edward Richards was in "H" Troop.  Capt. W.H.Humphreys  4th. Division.  He is number 97 on both the Pay Roll (no pay recorded but states Chatham) and Muster Roll (records "Driver - Portugal.

On this June 1809 Muster Roll an entry agaist the numbers 91 to 99 records "Portugal".  Another entry at the end of this Muster Roll records:  "Edward Richards - left out of the May Muster Roll by mistake and back mustered for that period".

Although no pay details are revealed there are three columns across the page with the headings:
1st. Class after 17 years service.  1s..5.1/4d.(5 pence and one farthing) per diem.  (day).
2nd. Class after 10 to 17 years service.  1s..4.1/4d. per diem.  (day).
3rd. Class under 10 years service.  1s..3.1/4d. per diem. (day).

Distribution and Prize List of the Royal Horse and Foot Artillery Royal Engineers, Kings German Artillery, Royal Artillery Drivers, Royal Sappers and Miners and Field Train Dept. of Ordnance for the First Period.  (2 to 12 May 1809).  (Page 27).  (pages 22 to 27).
(P.R.O. Kew Ref. WO.164 / 260. "Payments")

Corps of Royal Artillery Drivers.  "C" Troop.
72.  Edward Richards.  No payment recorded.
Note:  The payment was 7s..2 1/2d.
Only nine men had amounts against their names and the payments were mostly in May and June.  The amounts were under the headings:  6th. Class.
The amount brought forward at the top of the page is for 658..5s..8 1/2d. and at the bottom of the page, the amount carried forward is 661..10s..7d.  The difference is equal to 9 x 7s..2 1/2d.(3..4s..10 1/2d)

1809JulyTalavera.
The 30 British guns, though opposed by a far stronger body of artillery, were admirably served.  On the day after the battle, the approach of the French army to the left rear compelled Wellington to retire, and the winter was spent constructing the lines of Torres Vedras in anticipation of a new French invasion of Portugal.

1809JulyCaptain Humphreys Troop.  Lt. William Weir.  3rd. Division.  Stationed at Warley.
(P.R.O. Kew. Reference WO.10. / 779).
78.  Edward Richards.  1..19s..4. 1/4d.  Portugal.
78.  Edward Richards.  Driver.  To "C" Troop.  To Portugal.
Note:  An entry on the Pay List against Edward Richards records "5/3. Vo 35." His rate of pay is entered under the Second Class column.  No date of enlistment is recorded.  The note 5/3. Vo. 35 is a voucher payment!

An entry on the July 1809 Muster Roll against a list of names records:
9.  Edward Richards.  "1st. August To "C" Troop and to Portugal."

1809.  27 and 28 July.  Battle of Talavera

Edward Richards was involved in this battle.  The evidence to support this fact is revealed years later when the General Service Medal was issued to the soldiers who were involved in the Peninsular WarEdward Richards not only received his medal, he was awarded "bars" to go with it.  Each bar awarded represented a battle where he had been involved.  There is correspondence available to support these facts relating to Edward Richards.

1809.  August to December.  (P.R.O. Kew. Ref: WO.10./776.
Capt. HumphreysEdward Richards is recorded in the central index for one month. vis. July 303.  Columns 2 to 6 incl. August to December are blank.

Capt. Turner.  "C" Troop.  Edward Richards is recorded in the central index for five months.  vis. 5 columns.  August to December.  299 - 301, 304, 302.

1809.  August.  Capt. Turner. . Lt. Priest. 5 Division.
49.  Edward Richards.  No pay given!
49.  Edward Richards.  Driver.  From "H" Troop.
Note:  An entry on this Muster Roll against the name of Edward Richards records 1st. August 1809 from "H" Troop.  The number 45 is against his name and he is now Division 5.

1809.  September.  Capt. Turner. .  5th. Division.  Lt. Priest.
48.  Edward Richards.  No pay recorded.
48.  Edward Richards.

1809.  October   Capt. Turner.  "C" Troop. 5 Division.  Lt. Priest  (P.R.O. Kew.  Ref. WO.10/778).
46.  Edward Richards.  No pay recorded.  In Portugal.
46.  Edward Richards.  Driver.  In Portugal

1809.  November.  Capt. Turner. . "C" Troop.  5 Division. Lt. Priest
29.  Edward Richards.  Paid in Portugal.
29.  Edward Richards.  Driver.  Portugal.

1809.  December.  Capt. Turner.  "C" Troop.  5 Division. Lt. John Priest.
28.  Edward Richards.  Paid in Portugal.
28.  Edward Richards.  Driver.  Portugal.

1812.  17 March.
After Lord Wellington had laid siege to Cuidad Rodrigo in January 1812, he moved his forces south to attack the stronghold of Badajoz.  The garrison at Badajoz was strongly defended by French troops supported by German and loyal Spanish.

For the first full scale siege against the border citadel of Badajoz on the 17 March, the Artillery had to make shift with an almost farcical battering train of antiques from the Portugese fortress of Elvas.  The first attempt against Badajoz had to be abandoned.

The second attempt, an eight day bombardment, commenced on the 6 April.  24,000 roundshot were needed to smash three gaps in the walls from 600 yards.  862 men all from field batteries and two thirds were Portugese.  Infantry stormed the breaches, capturing the town after hand to hand fighting with many casualties.  In the siege operations as a whole the Army lost 5,000 men.

The Duke of Wellington laid siege to the fortress form 17 March to 6 April.  On the 5 April a large scale assault breached the fortress walls which allowed Wellingtons troops to storm the defences.  The main assault failed with the loss of 2,000 but one of the two diversionary attacks succeeded in scaling the walls at the second attempt.  The following day the defenders surrendered.  The British troops took their revenge on the town with sustained looting and it was 3 days before order was restored.  The Duke of Wellington's forces had 5,000 casualties during the siege of Badajoz.

Edward Richards was involved in this battle.  The evidence to support this fact is revealed years later when the General Service Medal was issued to the soldiers who were involved in the Peninsular WarEdward Richards not only received his medal, he was awarded "bars" to go with it.  Each bar awarded represented a battle where he had been involved.  There is correspondence available to support these facts relating to Edward Richards.

The following Muster and Pay Rolls for the period January to June 1812 provide some corroboration of his presence at this battle.

1812January to June  (P.R.O. Kew. Reference W.O.10/954).
Detachments commanded by Captain G. H. Grimes in the Corps of R. A. Drivers.  "C" Troop.  4th. Division.
January.
63.  Edward Richards.  With the Army.  Lisbon.  Muster Roll.
63.  Edward Richards.  1..19s..4 3/4d.  Inlisted March 1802.  Pay List..
Bracketed with several (62 to 67) left hand margin 1. Voi. A/c 1949.  Right hand margin 4/5. no. 41. A / 1950.

Detachments commanded by Captain G. H. Grimes in the Corps of R. A. Drivers.  "C" Troop.  4th. Division.
February.
59.  Edward Richards.  With the Army.  Lisbon.
Pay List.
59.  Edward Richards.  1..16s..10 1/4d.  Inlisted March 1802.

Detachments commanded by Captain G. H. Grimes in the Corps of R. A. Drivers.  "C" Troop.  4th. Division.
March. Muster Roll.
58.  Edward Richards.  With the Army.  Lisbon.
Pay List.
58.  Edward Richards.  1..19s..4 3/4d.  Inlisted March 1802.

Detachments commanded by Captain G. H. Grimes in the Corps of R. A. Drivers.  "C" Troop.  4th. Division.
April.
Muster Roll.
98.  Edward Richards.   With the Army.  Lisbon.
Pay List.
98.  Edward Richards.  1..18s..1 1/2d.  Inlisted March 1802.

Detachments commanded by Captain G. H. Grimes in the Corps of R. A. Drivers.  "C" Troop.  4th. Division.
May. 88.  Edward Richards.  With the Army.  Lisbon.  Muster Roll.
88.  Edward Richards.  1..18s..1 1/2d.  Inlisted March 1802.  Pay List.

June.
Muster Roll.
48.  Edward Richards.  With the ARMY.  LISBON.
Pay List.
48.  Edward Richards.  2..00s..7 1/2d.  Inlisted March 1802.

1812. July.  Salamanca.
At Salamanca, village of Arapines, the French fled in utter rout.

1813. 21 June.  Vittoria.
The French fate was sealed by a crushing defeat.

1814.  July to December.
Muster and Pay Rolls.  (P.R.O. Kew. Reference WO.10./1035).
July.  Brigade of Royal Horse Artillery now LT. Col. Robert Gardiner's "E" Troop.  Peninsular.
NOTE:  At the end of the August Pay List it records :
13 men embarked Calais  20 July.  Disembarked Dover  21 July.
71 men embarked Calais  21 July.  Disembarked Dover  22 July.
12 men embarked Calais  21 July.  Disembarked Dover  23 July.
42 men embarked Calais  21 July.  Disembarked Dover  24 July.
20 men embarked Bordeaux  9 June.  Disembarked Woolwich  25 July.
Lt. Col. Robt. Gardiner.  Lt. Newlands.  Lt. Harding.  Lt. Swaby, all embarked Calais  21 July.  Disembarked Dover 24 July.

I conject that Edward Richards was one of the 42 men who embarked Calais on the 21 July and disembarked Dover on 24 July.  He was in the Brigade of Royal Horse Artillery commanded by Lt. Col. Robert Gardiner's "E" Troop and these were the dates when the latter left France and arrived back in England.

1814September.
Brigade of Royal Horse Artillery now LT. Col. Robert Gardiner's "E" Troop.  Woolwich.
Muster Roll.  Drivers.  11.  Edward Richards.  2nd. Class.  Duty.  in red ink!
Pay List.  11.  Edward Richards.  2..0s..7 1/2d.  2nd class.
Inlisted 1 March 1804.

1814October.     P.R.O. Kew.  Reference WO.10./1035. continued.
Brigade of Royal Horse Artillery now LT. Col. Robert Gardiner's "E" Troop.  Woolwich.
Muster Roll.  Drivers.  10.  Edward Richards.  2nd. Class.  Duty.  in red ink!
In red ink states:  "Dischg. 3rd. Oct.
Pay List.  10.  Edward Richards.  4 3/4d.  2nd class.
Discharged 3rd. October.
Note:  15 men were discharged on that date.

18143 OctoberWoolwich
Edward Richards was discharged from the Army.

18141 November.     P.R.O.  Kew.  Reference WO.10./1035.  continued.
Brigade of Royal Horse Artillery now LT. Col. Robert Gardiner's "E" Troop.  Woolwich.
Edward Richards is not on either the Pay List or Muster Roll.
Under the heading:  Alterations since last Muster it records:
Edward Richards is amongst a list of names of men who have now been discharged from the Army.  The date of discharge is recorded as 3 October (1814) and paid at the rate of 1s..10d. for every mile to carry them to their place of original enlistment.

So Edward Richards is now back on "civvy street", as a civilian with a war injury and a living to earn.

Please refer to part two of his life story.

Edward Richards (1790 to 1866)
part one


Email: ronstan@richardsbygonetimes.co.uk

Home Page: http://www.richardsbygonetimes.co.uk/

Created 2 December 2003
Last updated: 16 March 2012