The Expedition to Sweden
1808 - The regiment wintered at Colchester, and on the 19th of April 1808, the following order appeared:
"Head Quarters, Colchester,
19th April 1808.
Sir - In consequence of orders from his Royal Highness the Commander-in-Chief, I am directed by Lord Charles Fitzroy, to desire that the undermentioned corps may be held in readiness for immediate embarkation:
1st Battalion, 4th Regiment. 1st Battalion, 28th Regiment. 1st Battalion, 79th Regiment. 1st Battalion, 92nd Regiment.
1st Battalion, 95th Regiment.
I have, &c. J. Carey, Brig.-general Clinton. A.A.G. &c."
On the 24th of April, this magnificent corps, consisting of five of the finest regiments in the army, received orders to march to, and embark at Harwich; the 28th and 4th forming the first brigade of the first division (under Major-general Frazer) of the army, under the command of Sir John Moore. On the 4th of May, we sailed from Harwich, and arrived at Yarmouth on the 6th, when we received on board a number of additional officers to the staff. On Tuesday morning, the 10th of May, the expedition sailed, and bidding adieu to the beautiful shores of Norfolk, steered with a fair wind to the northward. The naval part, under Rear-admiral Keats, consisting of nine sail of the line, five frigates, sloops, and thirteen gun-brigs, with upwards of two hundred sail of transports. Our destination was strictly concealed. On the 17th of May, after a pleasant voyage, we arrived off Gottenburg, and next day the Mars, seventy-four, and Audacious, seventy-four, piloted us into that excellent harbour. The head-quarter ship, the Jenny, was missing for four days, but arrived safely, after being nearly lost on that rugged coast. The Swedes were quite astonished to see such a fleet. It was remarkably fine weather, and great numbers of the most respectable people from Gottenburg (five miles up the harbour from where we were lying) came down in boats, and rowed round the line-of-battle ships, which they much admired; and they were no less delighted with the bands of the different regiments that were playing on board the transports. The weather at this time being most delightful; there was no night.
The reports of our destination were various; but regimental officers were left only to conjecture. The first general order issued to the army gave universal satisfaction, and showed the judgment of the Commander-in-Chief, in selecting for such employment one, who afterwards justified, at Barrosa, the expectation even then formed of him. The following is a copy of the order -
"Head Quarters, His
Majesty's Ship Mars, 20th May 1808.
General Order - Colonel Graham, 90th Regiment, has received his Majesty's permission to serve as a volunteer with the army, and is appointed aide-de-camp to the Commander of the Forces."
During the stay of the army at Gottenburg, we were amply supplied with provisions of every description. ........ The troops were practised to landing in the flat boats. ......... The regiment suffered a very severe loss, by the departure of Lieutenant-Colonel Johnson, the commanding-officer, who was obliged to return to England, on account of ill health. The following regimental order was issued on the occasion :
"Gottenburg, May 30th
Battalion Order - Lieutenant-colonel Johnson, being on the point of returning to England, to embark for North America, cannot refrain from expressing his regret, that any circumstances should render it necessary for him to leave the 28th regiment, and he requests the officers to accept his most sincere thanks for their exemplary and gentlemanlike conduct in every situation, since he had the honour to command it. The character of the 28th regiment stands too high to admit of any general remarks; but Lieutenant-colonel Johnson feels the greatest pleasure in reflecting, that the unanimity which has ever prevailed in the battalion, continue to distinguish it to this moment. Lieutenant-colonel Johnson feels it a duty incumbent on him, to notice the very soldierlike conduct of the non-commissioned officers and men in general, and to assure them, that a continuance of it, cannot fail to entitle them to the approbation of their officers."
On the return of Colonel Johnson to England, the command devolved on Major Browne. About the middle of June, a melancholy accident happened to our senior Captain, Brevet Major Duddingston. He was walking the quarter-deck of the transport, when he saw two boys of the regiment clinging to the mast-head, and in calling out with a loud voice for them to come down, he burst a blood-vessel imwardly. He was immediately sent home to England, and just arrived in time to take leave of his afflicted wife before he died.
The expedition remained at Gottenburg till the 26th of June, when we received orders to be in readiness to sail, on the arrival of the Commander of the Forces. Sir John Moore arrived from Stockholm on the 29th, in consequence of some misunderstanding with the King of Sweden, and on the 2nd of July, the whole sailed on their return to England. About the middle of July the expedition arrived safely in Yarmouth Roads. After having six weeks in the dreary harbour of Gottenburg, with nothing but rocks to look at, how delightful did the fertile shores of Old England appear to us! After procuring a supply of water, and of other necessaries, we sailed for Spithead, and arrived on the 20th.......
On the 24th of July, a general order arrived from the Horse Guards, which, droll as it may appear, gave universal delight; it was to cut off the men's queues. A signal was immediatley made for all hair cutters to repair to head-quarters. As soon as thay had finished on board the head-quarter ship, the adjutant, Lieutenant Russell, proceeded with them and a pattern man, to the other troop ships. The tails were kept till all were docked, when by a signal, the whole were hove overboard, with three cheers.