The Waterloo Association: Members Area

Ensign John Impett, 71st Regiment of Foot

He joined the regiment on 14 April 1814 and he fought at the Battle of Waterloo. He became a Captain in February 1835 and retired on half pay in 1841.

To Edinburgh 24 April 1815

My dear mother,

I have been expecting a letter from you for this 3 weeks past, but since you won’t write to me I’ll write to you. I did write to you a long time ago in answer to your letter of the 17th March, in which you said you would send me a letter for Major Jones[1] in a few days, but I have never got it. I wish you had sent it as I am on the way to join the first battalion at Ostend. I have been at Edinburgh for this fortnight. I have been living with Aunt Bowie. I think it was very good of her to let me stay with her such a time. If it had not been for that I would have been in a bad way. Staying in Edinburgh for a fortnight would have spent almost all my money, as some of the officers have done, for it is very expensive living here in lodgings. There are four officers going and 60 men. We go on Tuesday morning to Leith and embark on board the smacks. We do not go in transports, we go first to Gravesend and march from thence to Deal or Ramsgate or some place to embark on transports for Ostend. Dear Aunt Bowie has been very good to me, she has bought me a famous boat cloak, shoes and everything that I want. She is much surprised, she has not heard from you or Mary. She wrote to you wishing particularly that you would write to me immediately to tell her something about the folks in France. I wish you would write to me soon and tell me something about them. You told me they were going to write to me directly. They have not wrote a line to me, not even an answer to a letter, I wrote them God knows how long since. I perhaps may see them soon when in France, as I am going there. What is Tom about? Aunt Bowie says that she saw that his regiment was gone out too. I hope it may be the case. It is very likely I may see some of them, that would be very pleasant. I wish I could see you before I go, but I am afraid there is no chance of that unless they keep me at Gravesend for a fortnight, but I will be coming home captain soon, as that old girl says, that is Mrs Hulos’ aunt (I forget her name). I have seen all our old friends here, the Hume’s and Gregorie’s and everybody. They have all been very kind to me, had me out to dinner almost every day. I am going to Dr Gregorie’s today. Mrs Gregory is a great deal better now than she was. She has been very ill. They all desire to be remembered to you and Mary when I write. There is some Miss Stewarts here, who were great friends of yours. They are very nice creatures, they have been very kind to me. If I had known I would have been so long here, I could have gone over and seen Uncle Raitt, but when I came I thought I would have gone next day or the next day after at the furthest. Poor Aunt Jane is just the same, I have never seen her. She does not so much as know that I am in the house. Aunt Bowie thinks I had better not see her at all, and so I have not. For Dr Gregory says it would make her worse. I was very sorry to leave all the people at Glasgow. I went out to all of them, to take leave of them, just a little before I came away. I will not say any more now, I will keep it till we get to Gravesend, perhaps there may be something to tell you then.

Well! We are arrived at Gravesend after a very good voyage, but I was damned sick all the way and now we are here, we have just come out of the smacks, onto the transports and a pretty mess there is of us, 60 of our own men and 80 of the 91st, all stowed into one little devil of a ship that would not hold 30 comfortably and we are off tomorrow morning if the wind continues fair. I have never been on land yet, but I will this evening, for half an hour, if I can get leave. I have left a lot of things at Glasgow in charge of Miss Cathcart in a trunk. Dear Aunt Bowie was really very kind to me, she wants you to write very much. The old colonel was very good, he would lend me ten pounds and I am to pay him whenever I like. I will not be able to see you as I hoped for if we had been kept here a few weeks, I might have managed to have gone up to yours. I will write to you again when we get settled. This is a beautiful country, it is the County Kent tell Allice. I have no more room to write, adieu my dear mother, yours affectionately John Impett.

[1] Major Arthur Jones of the 71st Foot was wounded at Waterloo, he died in 1837.

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