Newtown, Wexford, Ireland
|Years of service||1805-1817,|
|Unit||95th Rifles 41st (Welch) Regiment of Foot|
|Battles/wars||Anglo-Spanish War (1796–1808)|
Thomas Plunket (1785–1839) was an Irish soldier in the British Army's 95th Rifles regiment. He served throughout the Peninsular War and later in the Waterloo Campaign of 1815. He is remembered for killing a French general during the Peninsular War with an extremely long range rifle shot, then killing the general's aide-de-camp, who had gone to his side to render aid, with another.
Ireland is an island in the North Atlantic. It is separated from Great Britain to its east by the North Channel, the Irish Sea, and St George's Channel. Ireland is the second-largest island of the British Isles, the third-largest in Europe, and the twentieth-largest on Earth.
The British Army is the principal land warfare force of the United Kingdom, a part of British Armed Forces. As of 2018, the British Army comprises just over 81,500 trained regular (full-time) personnel and just over 27,000 trained reserve (part-time) personnel.
The Peninsular War (1807–1814) was a military conflict between Napoleon's empire and Bourbon Spain, for control of the Iberian Peninsula during the Napoleonic Wars. The war began when the French and Spanish armies invaded and occupied Portugal in 1807, and escalated in 1808 when France turned on Spain, previously its ally. The war on the peninsula lasted until the Sixth Coalition defeated Napoleon in 1814, and is regarded as one of the first wars of national liberation, significant for the emergence of large-scale guerrilla warfare.
Thomas Plunket was born in 1785 in Newtown, Wexford, Ireland. He joined the 95th Rifles in May 1805. In 1807, he took part in the British invasions of the River Plate (1806-1807). During the 2nd Battle of Buenos Aires, the 95th Rifles were heavily engaged in street-fighting during which Plunket killed around 20 Spanish troops while shooting from a rooftop with others from his unit. They retreated when Spanish artillery bombarded their position with grapeshot. Plunket also shot a Spanish officer who was waving a white handkerchief (with the possible intention of requesting a truce), resulting in further Spanish artillery bombardment which brought about the British surrender.
The British invasions of the River Plate were a series of unsuccessful British attempts to seize control of areas in the Spanish colonial Viceroyalty of the Río de la Plata that were located around the Río de la Plata in South America — in present-day Argentina and Uruguay. The invasions took place between 1806 and 1807, as part of the Napoleonic Wars, when Spain was an ally of Napoleonic France.
In artillery, grapeshot is a projectile that is not one solid element, but a geometric arrangement of round shot packed tightly into a canvas bag and separated from the gunpowder charge by a metal disk of full bore diameter. It was used both in land and naval warfare. When assembled, the shot resembled a cluster of grapes, hence the name. On firing, the balls spread out from the muzzle, giving an effect similar to a giant shotgun.
Plunket is mainly remembered for a feat at the Battle of Cacabelos during Moore's retreat to Corunna in 1809. Plunket ran forward about 90 metres (100 yd) lay prone in the snow, and shot the French Général de Brigade Auguste-Marie-François Colbert with his Baker rifle. Before returning to his own lines he reloaded and shot down Colbert's aide-de-camp, Latour-Maubourg, who had rushed to the aid of the fallen general, which showed that the first shot had not been a fluke. Plunket only just made it back to his own lines ahead of a charge by a dozen French cavalry troopers, but the death of the two officers was sufficient to throw the following French attack into disarray. The shots were "from a range that seemed extraordinary to the" men of the 95th Rifles, who were trained to shoot targets with a Baker Rifle at 180 metres (200 yd) and whose marksmanship was far better than the ordinary British soldiers who were armed with a Brown Bess musket and only trained to shoot into a body of men at 50 metres (55 yd) with volley fire.
The Battle of Cacabelos was a minor battle of the Peninsular War that took place on 3 January 1809, at the bridge just outside the village of Cacabelos, Province of León, Spain, as British forces under Sir John Moore's British making its retreat to A Coruña. In the ensuing engagement with French Marshal Nicolas Soult's advance guard, British units were overwhelmed and forced to mount a hurried withdrawal across the bridge. Ultimately, however, the French forces failed to press their advance further due to heavy losses including the death of French Brigadier General Auguste François-Marie de Colbert-Chabanais. The resulting delay allowed Moore's forces to continue their retreat while keeping their forces largely intact.
A Coruña is a city and municipality of Galicia, Spain. It is the second most populated city in the autonomous community and seventeenth overall in the country. The city is the provincial capital of the province of the same name, having also served as political capital of the Kingdom of Galicia from the 16th to the 19th centuries, and as a regional administrative centre between 1833 and 1982, before being replaced by Santiago de Compostela.
The Baker rifle was a flintlock rifle used by the rifle regiments of the British Army during the Napoleonic Wars. It was the first standard-issue, British-made rifle accepted by the British armed forces.
In 1817, Plunket was discharged from the 95th after recovering from the head wound he received at the Battle of Waterloo. Awarded a pension of 6d a day, he soon enlisted back into the army in a line regiment, 41st Foot.The regiment was being inspected by his former commanding officer, General Sir Thomas Sydney Beckwith when the general recognised Plunket and inquired into what had happened to him. He was invited to the officers mess that night and the next day was promoted to corporal, and soon also had his pension raised to one shilling a day with Beckwith's influence. He later renounced his pension in exchange for four years' pay and land in Canada, but he returned to England after a year, considering the land unsuitable.
The Battle of Waterloo was fought on Sunday, 18 June 1815 near Waterloo in Belgium, part of the United Kingdom of the Netherlands at the time. A French army under the command of Napoleon Bonaparte was defeated by two of the armies of the Seventh Coalition: an army consisting of units from Britain, Ireland, the German Legion, the Netherlands, Hanover, Brunswick and Nassau, under the command of the Duke of Wellington, referred to by many authors as the Anglo-allied army, and a Prussian army under the command of Field Marshal Blücher. The battle marked the end of the Napoleonic Wars.
The pre-decimal penny (1d) was a coin worth 1/240 of a pound sterling. Its symbol was d, from the Roman denarius. It was a continuation of the earlier English penny, and in Scotland it had the same monetary value as one pre-1707 Scottish shilling. The penny was originally minted in silver, but from the late 18th century it was minted in copper, and then after 1860 in bronze.
The 41st (Welch) Regiment of Foot was an infantry regiment of the British Army, raised in 1719. Under the Childers Reforms it amalgamated with the 69th Regiment of Foot to form the Welch Regiment in 1881.
Plunket and his wife returned to the United Kingdom and, nearly destitute, made a small living as itinerant traders. Plunket died suddenly at Colchester in 1839. Several retired officers in the town heard about the death and recognized his name; as a result, they took up a collection for his widow and paid for his funeral and gravestone.
Colchester is a historic market town and the largest settlement within the borough of Colchester in the county of Essex. Colchester was the first Roman-founded city in Britain, and Colchester lays claim to be regarded as Britain's oldest recorded town. It was for a time the capital of Roman Britain, and is a member of the Most Ancient European Towns Network.
The King's Royal Rifle Corps was an infantry rifle regiment of the British Army that was originally raised in British North America as the Royal American Regiment during the phase of the Seven Years' War in North America known as 'The French and Indian War.' Subsequently numbered the 60th Regiment of Foot, the regiment served for more than 200 years throughout the British Empire. In 1958, the regiment joined the Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry and the Rifle Brigade in the Green Jackets Brigade and in 1966 the three regiments were formally amalgamated to become the Royal Green Jackets. The KRRC became the 2nd Battalion, Royal Green Jackets. On the disbandment of the 1st Battalion, Royal Green Jackets in 1992, the RGJ's KRRC battalion was redesignated as the 1st Battalion, Royal Green Jackets, eventually becoming 2nd Battalion, The Rifles in 2007.
Major-General Robert Craufurd was a British soldier. Craufurd was born at Newark, Ayrshire, the third son of Sir Alexander Craufurd, 1st Baronet, and the younger brother of Sir Charles Craufurd. After a military career which took him from India to the Netherlands, in 1810 in the Napoleonic Peninsular War he was given command of the Light Division, composed of the elite foot soldiers in the army at the time, under the Duke of Wellington. Craufurd was a strict disciplinarian and somewhat prone to violent mood swings which earned him the nickname "Black Bob". He was mortally wounded storming the lesser breach in the Siege of Ciudad Rodrigo on 19 January 1812 and died four days later.
The Rifle Brigade was an infantry rifle regiment of the British Army formed in January 1800 as the "Experimental Corps of Riflemen" to provide sharpshooters, scouts, and skirmishers. They were soon renamed the "Rifle Corps". In January 1803, they became an established regular regiment and were titled the 95th Regiment of Foot (Rifles). In 1816, at the end of the Napoleonic Wars, they were again renamed, this time as the "Rifle Brigade".
The Royal Green Jackets (Rifles) Museum is situated at Peninsula Barracks in Winchester, England. The museum is one of several regimental museums that form part of Winchester's Military Museums.
Lieutenant-General Sir Thomas Sydney Beckwith was an English officer of the British Army who served as quartermaster general of the British forces in Canada during the War of 1812, and a commander-in-chief of the Bombay Army during the British Raj. He is most notable for his distinguished service during the Peninsular War and for his contributions to the development and command of the 95th Rifles.
The Light Division was a light infantry division of the British Army. Its origins lay in "Light Companies" formed during the late 18th century, to move at speed over inhospitable terrain and protect a main force with skirmishing tactics. These units took advantage of then-new technology in the form of rifles, which allowed it to emphasise marksmanship, and were aimed primarily at disrupting and harassing enemy forces, in skirmishes before the main forces clashed.
A rifleman is an infantry soldier armed with a rifled long gun. Although the rifleman role had its origin with 16th century hand cannoneers and 17th century musketeers, the term originated in the 18th century with the introduction of the rifled musket. By the mid-19th century, entire regiments of riflemen were formed and became the mainstay of all standard infantry, and rifleman became a generic term for any common infantryman.
The 1st Pennsylvania Regiment - originally mustered as the 1st Pennsylvania Rifles; also known as the 1st Continental Line and 1st Continental Regiment, was raised under the command of Colonel William Thompson for service in the Continental Army.
Lieutenant-General Sir William Stewart, GCB was a British military officer who was the first Commanding Officer of the Rifle Corps, a Division Commander in the Peninsular War and a Scottish Member of Parliament (MP) in the British Parliament.
The Combat of the Côa was a skirmish that occurred during the Peninsular War period of the Napoleonic Wars. It took place in the valley of the Côa River and it was the first significant battle for the new army of 65,000 men controlled by Marshal André Masséna, as the French prepared for their third invasion of Portugal.
A rifle regiment is a military unit consisting of a regiment of infantry troops armed with rifles and known as riflemen. While all infantry units in modern armies are typically armed with rifled weapons the term is still used to denote regiments that follow the distinct traditions that differentiated them from other infantry units.
William Green was an English rifleman of the 95th Regiment who served in the Napoleonic Wars. He was the author of a memoir entitled "A brief outline of the Travels and Adventures of William Green during a period of ten years in the British Service", one of the few accounts by an enlisted man of life in Wellington's Army. As such it has served as a primary source for many historians.
The Battle of Sabugal was an engagement of the Peninsular War which took place on 3 April 1811 between Anglo-Portuguese forces under Arthur Wellesley and French troops under the command of Marshal André Masséna. It was the last of many skirmishes between Masséna's retreating French forces and those of the Anglo-Portuguese under Wellington, who were pursuing him after the failed 1810 French invasion of Portugal.
The 52nd (Oxfordshire) Regiment of Foot was a light infantry regiment of the British Army throughout much of the 18th and 19th centuries. The regiment first saw active service during the American War of Independence, and were posted to India during the Anglo-Mysore Wars. During the Napoleonic Wars, the 52nd were part of the Light Division, and were present at most of the major battles of the Peninsula campaign, becoming one of the most celebrated regiments, described by Sir William Napier as "a regiment never surpassed in arms since arms were first borne by men". They had the largest British battalion at Waterloo, 1815, where they formed part of the final charge against Napoleon's Imperial Guard. They were also involved in various campaigns in India.
General Sir Brent Spencer was an Anglo-Irish officer in the British Army, seeing active service during the American Revolutionary War and the French Revolutionary Wars. During the Peninsular War he became General Wellesley's second-in-command on two occasions. He fought at Vimeiro and testified in Wellesley's favor at the inquiry following the Convention of Cintra. He led a division at Bussaco and two divisions at Fuentes de Onoro. After the latter action, he had an independent command in northern Portugal. Wellesley, now Lord Wellington, was not satisfied that Spencer was up to the responsibilities of second-in-command and he was replaced by Thomas Graham. Miffed, Spencer left Portugal and never returned. He became a full general in 1825.
Auguste François-Marie de Colbert-Chabanais, Comte de l'Empire joined the French army during the French Revolutionary Wars. He became a general officer of cavalry during the Napoleonic Wars and fought in a number of major battles under Emperor Napoleon I of France in 1805-1807. He was killed by a long range shot fired by a British rifleman during the Peninsular War in 1809.
The history of British light infantry goes back to the early days of the British Army, when irregular troops and mercenaries added skills in light infantry fighting. From the beginning of the nineteenth century, the Army dedicated some line regiments as specific light infantry troops, were trained under the Shorncliffe System devised by Sir John Moore and Sir Kenneth MacKenzie Douglas. The light infantry had the nickname "light bobs" first used during the American Wars of Independence, and commonly applied to the Light Division during the Napoleonic wars.
George Simmons was a British Army officer who served in the Napoleonic Wars and was wounded at the Battle of Waterloo while serving with the 95th Regiment of Foot (Rifles).
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