The Waterloo Association: Members Area

Letters of Captain Edward Thomas Fitzgerald 25th Foot

He joined the army as a Cornet in the 20th Dragoons on 13 June 1804, he became a Captain in the 101st Foot on 13 September 1810 and then immediately transferred to the 25th Foot on the same day. He became a Captain in the 12th Foot in April 1817 and went on half pay from that regiment. He served in North Germany and Holland in 1813-14 and also served at Waterloo as a Deputy Assistant Quarter Master General and was wounded.

The originals of these letters are now held by the National Library of Ireland in Dublin.

To Mrs Fitzgerald at Mrs Greens, London

Tuesday morning

6 July 1813

My beloved Emma,

I have but a short time to say that we arrived about an hour ago. The frigate is here, but when we sail I cannot say. It is not exactly settled yet, the 33rd is not yet arrived[1]. I hope my love, to see you again, if we stay I shall certainly return to town. Keep up your spirits my adored wife; remember your recovery depends on your being perfectly tranquil and your husband’s happiness on yours. I dread the consequences of my departure last night and shall be on thorns until I hear how you passed the night and feel this morning. Do not fret my life, you cannot but see the advantages that will result to your dear husband from this expedition, promotion and profit must be the result. Believe me I will write for you the moment we are likely to be settled and until then shall never taste real happiness but remember if Fanny does not give me good accounts of your recovering, which now entirely rests with yourself, I shall excuse this promise every day I shall expect to hear from Fanny until you are well enough to write yourself. We shall most probably sail tomorrow, if so I will not lose an opportunity of writing to you. I will have letters written ready should we fall in with any ship.

For this day my love, I must bid you farewell though with great reluctance, for I have so much to do that I have not a moment to spare. The enclosed letter which I wrote in London, I believe must be paid postage of, do so my beloved.

Again, I conjure you for your husband’s sake, to compose your habits, otherwise the fever will return. Bear in mind that it is not the most precious of all hair alone you are become able for, but also that of the little infant you bear.  Again adieu, my life and soul, your husband’s heart and thoughts are with you. ETF

 

Love to mother, Fanny and Charles

 

To Mrs Fitzgerald

To the care of Charles Green Esquire, 33 Great St Helens, Bishopsgate Street, London

Forwarded to West Cowes, Isle of Wight

Stralsund 24 August 1813

I trust and hope with all my heart, my dearest beloved Emma, that my last letter has reached you before you can have left England and that it will prevent your doing so, unless you can hear to a certainty that we are to remain here. At present our tenure seems to be very precarious and must be so while two great armies are contending for power. If therefore my beloved Emma, this should reach you in England, do not set off without being well informed of our destination. I have already explained to you that the general has written to be allowed to advance, since that the 54th Regiment has marched to join Count Walmoden at Wittenburg in Mecklenburg.

Within this day or two, we have had many reports, but on them we cannot entirely rely, one says that the Count and General Tettenborn[2] have been defeated by Davout and that the latter is now within 50 miles of us at Weismar. Another says that Bonaparte has retired, having suffered some loss in Silesia? Certain it is that some hard fighting has been going on although we have not the result.

I have now had time to reconnoitre this place and I am clearly of [the] opinion that if the French can bring a large force before it, we shall be able to stand but a short siege. The place is but partly and irregularly fortified, indeed mainly protected by field works and these not yet finished. It has the advantage of a considerable wet ditch or rather an inundation, which insures us from a coup de main. I am now employed taking a sketch of it to send to General Gordon[3].

A messenger arrived here last night, dearest Emma, and brought letters for the army, but none from you dearest. How come that is two conveyances have come within these two days, but I have not heard from you? I begin to be very uneasy lest you have experienced any return of fever, I cannot rest happy or easy in my mind, dearest wife, while you are at such a distance from me. The suspense and anxiety I feel is miserable. I wish you here and yet I fear it. If the French retire, we shall certainly move on towards Hamburg. If so you might very easily join me there and surely they cannot stand now, for Austria has declared with the allies, they have commenced hostilities. We hear some good news here of Lord Wellington having beat Soult, but we have not got the particulars.

The bills I sent to your brother Charles for £128 2s 6d will pay [for] the horses, what I took of yours and for the tent nearly. Since then, I have sold the worst of the horses (that is the one I bought for 30 Guineas! And fell with me in London and broke his knees) for 70 guineas. I have got Colonel Harris’s[4] draft for the amount on London, which I would send you, but if we move, I should want part of it, I therefore think it better to keep it a little longer until I see whether I should want it. I have still three very nice horses, one I bought since we came here.

If you come, dearest, I will be much obliged to you to bring me out a couple of harriers and to borrow your brother’s gun for me. Charles will buy the greyhounds and hounds for you, but he must not give too much for them. I can always sell them over here. Let these hounds be harriers, if you do not come, dearest, send them to me if you can. Your friend Young Foster would be a likely vendor to procure them for me, let them be good ones. If you come bring my shooting jacket. This goes by the Paymaster of the 25th Regiment[5] who promises to put in the office the moment he reaches Harwich. He travels overland to Gothenburg or I would send the hams by him, not one ship has yet left this coast for England. One is expected to go in about a week.

I understand this evening, dearest Emma, a ship goes off for England in five days. I was called from this letter my love, this morning, to attend the general and I return to it at a later hour. A courier is just arrived from England in eight days and yet no letter from you my Emma. The papers arrived are of the 16th of this month. What dearest can I imagine is the matter with you? I will not believe that it is from neglect or forgetfulness of your fond husband. No my love, I am alarmed about your health, for I am sure that nothing else would prevent you my darling. My Emma, what anxiety I experience at such a distance and long days and wish as must without hearing from you. My only consolation is absence and that deprived of. I should be content my love (happy I cannot be till we meet) if I knew you were well. Your forward state of pregnancy and such state of health makes me doubly anxious, but I only hope the best and trust to God’s mercy to preserve you in safety to your truly attached husband.

I cannot Emma, give you any further account of the society of this place, for I do not enter it, or rather there is none at this time of year here. The ladies I have not yet changed my opinion of, they are dirty in their habits and vulgar in their manners, at all events they appear so to us English. They have a terrible dirty custom of spitting about the room, which I think is specimen enough to you. These customs disgust me, but you know I am particular. At all events, they are very inferior to the ladies of the southern parts of Europe. I suppose Fanny is just about to visit you at this time, that is if the commodore is returned from the northern pole to worship the eastern star, wish the many happy years for me. I am vexed I could not meet as yet with anything to send and present him with, but this is a remarkable place for every sort of trinket. There are some pretty ones to be got at Berlin, but we are two hundred miles distant and have very little communication. We expect something here very shortly, they are sent for but are not yet arrived. I still have a good opportunity of sending things home, in October Captain Stewart the A[ssistant] A[djutant] General[6] who is a great friend of mine, will be going about that time. You will ask how we became as great so soon. He is a very good fellow although a Scot and we live together, he goes home to be married. Best love dearest Emma, to your mother, Fanny, Charles, Robert and Farrington. I suppose you are all met there together and best regards Madina and believe me my beloved wife is the only consideration and sole possessor of the warm affections of your affectionate husband.

I have not time friends to revise for it is very late.

 

Stamped 27 August 1813

Mrs Fitzgerald to the care of Charles Green Esquire

33 Great St Helens, Bishopsgate, London

Redirected to West Cowes, Isle of Wight

My dearest beloved Emma,

I wrote to you yesterday in such a hurry that I hardly know what I said. I find a post leaves tonight and which will reach you first I know not. It was to summons you to Stralsund if you find yourself sufficiently recovered to be able to travel. There is no possible objection to your coming, but your state of health, which my life, I am grieved to find is not perfectly restored. I received dear Fanny’s letter this morning from Farnham, for which I beg you will thank her, but I have no doubt but that as all other complaint is removed but [a] cough, that the air of the islands will soon cure that. I have made all enquiry necessary about your confinement and find that the best advice and assistance can be had here. I should not be anxious for you in moving until after that period, but it would happen at such a time of the year that it would be impossible for you to come out after that until May next. It now remains with you my dearest love, to consider whether you can travel or not. Everything recommends your coming if it can be accomplished. We shall remain here all the winter quietly in garrison. I am remarkably well off as to apartments, indeed magnificently. It is a cheap country where we can live luxuriously on my pay and allowances. There is no chance of your being disturbed by the enemy and even if you were, you can go at all times in one night over to Sweden or you are safe in the Island of Rugen, which is only a ferry. If you determine in coming, lose not a moment, for at the present season you would be certain of a calm passage. Colonel Harris is now writing at this table to Mrs H to come and wishes you to travel together, write to her and as Robert is fond of travelling and seeing foreign parts, perhaps he would pay us a visit and come with you. So pretty a woman is Mrs H will be I hope an inducement. It will be well worth his while to come, for he will travel through the best part of Sweden and will have an opportunity of seeing all this country. The Quarter Master General will provide him with lodging & feeding and with all the requisites for his amusement. I fear it would be vain to ask Charles to come, for he could not have [got] out of London, try him. If you come, bring the carriage, but be careful to have the wheels covered with hay, box and the body is well hoisted up when it goes on board ship, also bring the plate and linen chests and in short bring out everything that will make us comfortable – crockery, china, and glass, it will always pay when we are going away. Don’t forget the harness. If there are any transports coming with stores and without troops, you could immediately procure the cabin and other accommodation by applying to Lady Liverpool, who would get them for you, this through Major Boothby[7], but do not come further than Gothenburg, for I would not wish you to come through the Belt. Write to me the moment you arrive at Gothenburg and I will instantly set off for you, it is only two or three day’s post. The general has given me leave. If Charles is not yet left Ireland, write to him and say that I find the Paymaster of the 54th Regiment exchanged into the regiment only about a month before the regiment left England and knows nothing of his business. The former Paymaster is going to the East Indies, but he must make Purwood[8] pay the money. I am rejoiced to hear of his appointment. There is no use my writing to him as it would probably never reach him. I wish you my love, would write to my mother and Dorothea, remember me to them all and say that I will write to them by the next conveyance, as I am so harried at present with the troops, that I have not time. Best love to all about you, I feel most grateful for their kindness to you as well as to myself and kiss dear little Tod for his Pap, will you bring him out? Mind that you bring a man servant with you, but I think Todd will be best in England. I cannot write into some subjects that I would wish to write on my love, for Englishmen’s letters are instantly opened here to see that they do not write treason. The hams shall go by the first ship that sails direct for England.

Give my best regards to the Yonges, adieu my dearest beloved Emma, be assured you were for all the thoughts and possess the entire effusions of your loving, affectionate husband.

GTF

Bring out a couple of light carriage whips and two four horse thongs, let them be as light as possible & bring a dozen steel forks to match our knives. You may bring all your dresses as there is constant transport conveyance from Gothenburg here. Take care not to come without the carriage for you will not be able to march in this if you don’t bring some lace shoes, for these streets are dirty in hot weather. I will send bills for the money in a few days.

Merxem 2nd February 1814

Mr Fitzgerald, 29 Lincoln Inn Fields, London

An engagement so that I fear there is no majority this turn. This day was all honour and glory. My part of the prize money I send you, enclosed which with a French song [sheet] that was too wet to be recovered, was all I got. During the action one of the heaviest showers of snow fell that ever I saw, that was in our favour. There is a tremendous cannonade now going on, but we the Staff are snugly housed. Dearest beloved Emma, fear not for your husband, he will be precious of himself for thy sake. We hope to secure the fleet, which will save us many broken heads. When that is done, we shall move into France. We are the right wing of Bulow’s army and he leans on Wintzingerode[9] who has yesterday taken Brussels. Bulow has 20,000 here. There is but 8,000 in the town of Antwerp. The Crown Prince is to be at Munster on the 5th of this month and will shortly be up with us, he brings 60,000. You will soon hear from me at Paris, you shall have good quarters there. Tell Charles he shall come and see the lions there. Thus I have given you all the news which I am master of dearest love. I got your letter of the 25th yesterday enclosing a letter for Mr James and I say [letter ripped] it will ever make me to be of the least service to one recommended by thy most adored wife. Ever my Emma is thy image before me, even in the shower of shot, never were you absent from my thoughts. You and dear boy. Believe that thy prayer Emma, such can protect thy husband, but I am running on, which I have the little leisure for, as I am overwhelmed with business, which must make me cease long before my desire would permit. My best love attend all around you, to them I shall ever feel gratified for their kindness in which each have vied to excite.

Adieu then my Emma, rest assured of the unalterable affection of your fond husband Edward. Wrote to my mother and told her I have at last won my spurs.

[1] The British force sent to Stralsund in 1813 to support General Walmoden consisted of 4/1st Foot Regiment, 2/25th Foot Regiment, 33rd Foot Regiment, 1/54th Foot Regiment, 2/73rd Foot Regiment and the 2/91st Foot Regiment.

[2] Baron Freidrich Karl von Tettenborn was a Russian cavalry commander.

[3] Presumably this refers to Major General Sir James Willoughby Gordon, the Quarter Master General.

[4] Colonel George Harris, commanding the 73rd Foot.

[5] Paymaster John Loch.

[6] Captain John Stewart 88th Foot was Assistant Adjutant General.

[7] His would appear to refer to Captain Charles Boothby Royal Engineers.

[8] The Paymaster of the 54th had been Henry Irwin since 1813 – has he misspelt the name?

[9] General Ferdinand von Wintzingerode was a Prussian, but then serving as a Russian cavalry general.

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