The 6th Regiment, or: how Sgt. Stott defeated Napoleon and underestimated the Americans

Found some original notes yesterday in the files: reminiscences collected by three Stott cousins and written up by “H.S.F.,” a granddaughter of Jonathan Stott, sometime after World War I. I’m pretty sure H.S.F. must be Grace Helene Stott Franchot (1867-1939), who was Grandma’s aunt. Still trying to figure out who everybody else is but the contents of the files are gold.

Here’s more background on Jonathan Stott’s family and military career. The story of his mother’s funeral is particularly arresting.

Robert Stott and Jane Taylor were married about 1790. Robert was a silk manufacturer at Failsworth, and lived the life of a sporting country gentleman of his time, dying at middle life, after wasting a good part of his property. […]

The children of Robert Stott and Jane Taylor were, Joseph, born at Failsworth Oct. 9th, 1791. He enlisted in the English army at an early age, and went to India with his regiment. One letter came from him after his arrival in India, in which he stated that they were ordered up country. After this all trace of him was lost and it is supposed that he was killed in action, even his regimental number is unknown.

Jonathan, born at Failsworth, May 10th, 1793, and died in Stottville, N.Y. May 23rd, 1863. As a boy Jonathan learned the trade of a weaver in his father’s mill, but soon followed the example of his elder brother, and enlisted in the army. His mother unwilling to lose a second son, bought his discharge but Jonathan ran away and enlisted again, about 1810, at Oldham near Manchester, he was then seventeen years old. The Regiment was the “6th Foot” [. . . .]

Soon after Jonathan’s enlistment, the regiment was divided, the first battalion being ordered to Ireland, while the second, to which Jonathan belonged, was ordered to the Isle of Jersey. Obtaining a short leave, before sailing, he started for Failsworth to visit his family. Approaching the village and hearing bells tolling, he asked a countryman who was dead, and was told it was for the Widow Stott, his own mother. He hid behind the roadside hedge until the funeral party passed, and then returned to his regiment.

Soldier of the 6th Regiment, 1742

The 6th had been ordered to join the army under the Duke of Wellington, then on the Spanish Peninsula, and sailed in the fall of 1812, the two battalions joining at Lisbon, on the 5th of Nov. For nearly two years the 6th saw hard fighting in Spain and France, Jonathan reaching the rank of Sergeant. Jonathan said his uniform was so magnificent that when sent on one occasion under a flag of truce into the French lines, he was given the honors due a field officer. On the fall of Napoleon the 6th was ordered for service in Canada, and sailed from Bordeaux, France on the 5th of May, and landed in Quebec early in June 1814. From Quebec the battalion by forced marches, was hurried to the St. Lawrence to join the army under General Drummond, then besieging Fort Erie at Niagara. As the 6th did not join Gen. Drummond until the 1st and 2nd of Sept. it was impossible for them to have taken part in the battle of Lundeys Lane, which was fought July 25th, 1814.

Jonathan said the soldiers of the 6th, having met and defeated the best of the French army, felt that in the American army they were meeting raw volunteers. In consequence of this feeling, when ordered on a scouting party, in command of a Sergeant, kept but a poor outlook for possible enemies, and Jonathan, with his squad was promptly captured.

She goes on to write of his imprisonment at Pittsfield and parole to work for Lemuel Pomeroy. As the war came to a close, Jonathan wanted to stay in America, but all prisoners were to be sent back to England. H.S.F. continues:

Gen. Brown, commander of the prisoners at Pittsfield, had taken some notice of Jonathan (Sgt. Stott), and knew of his wish to remain in America, and of his relatives in Hudson. About the time the prisoners were to be exchanged, Gen. Brown met Jonathan and said to him, “You have an uncle in Hudson, N.Y. I believe, would you like to see him?” This hint was taken and Jonathan started at once for Hudson. Reaching there he stopped at the house of an Englishman asking to be directed to his uncle’s residence. A daughter of the house was sent to show him the way, and two years later she became his wife. Jonathan worked as a weaver for his uncle until the Spring of 1817, when his savings had reached $100.00, and on June 14th, he married Juliet Cooper Bennett, daughter of John Bennett.

The Bennetts had 3 daughters, and when each married their Father presented them with a desk that he had made himself (Frank Stott my brother has Auntie’s, H.S.F.), a tailor’s goose, and a cutting knife. One of these knives is still in possession of the Meyer family, as is another of the desks.

You’ll be relieved to know that, in 1825, Jonathan sent to England and bought his discharge from the English army for forty pounds sterling. But in this discharge the Sergeant was rated as a deserter.

I went to read more about the 6th Regiment and their service in the Napoleonic Wars under Wellington. They saw heavy fighting on the Iberian Peninsula and scored a decisive victory at Vitoria. The Duke was impressed.

At the Heights of Echalar, in August 1813, Wellington watched the regiment’s attack against 6,000 French in rugged positions in the mountains and described it as “The most gallant and the finest thing he had ever witnessed.” The regiment was held in reserve at the Nive and was again heavily engaged at Orthez in 1814. Once again, this so impressed the Duke that he subsequently scratched on the officers’ mess silver snuff box, which since 1785 had borne the words “Seek Glory,” the additional words “Huzza for the 6th Regiment Now Keep Glory.”

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