Colonel Richard Fortescue’s Regiment of Foot

Active1654 to 1657
CountryEngland
Barbados
AllegianceParliamentarian
ConflictsAnglo-Spanish War
TypeFoot
ColonelRichard Fortescue
Area RaisedEngland
Barbados
Coat ColourRed
Flag Colour
Flag Design
Field ArmiesVenables 1654-5

Protectorate regiment of foot serving on the Western Design in the West Indies

Service History

1654

  • Raised in England
  • December: Sail from Portsmouth for Barbados

1655

  • January: Arrive at Barbados where the regiment is recruited up to strength
  • April: Sail for Hispaniola
  • April: First repulse from Santo Domingo
  • April: Second repulse from Santo Domingo
  • May: Sail for Jamaica
  • May: Taking of Santiago de la Vega
  • October: Fortescue dies

1656

  • Garrison Jamaica

1657

  • Reduced into other regiments in Jamaica

Notes

A history of the regiment is given in The Regimental History of Cromwell's Army by Sir Charles Firth and Godfrey Davies, Clarendon Press, Oxford, 1940

Fortescue’s regiment were raised in England in 1654 for service in the West Indies. The five regiments under Venables’ command totalled 2000-2500 men, of whom only 1000 were experienced soldiers. Shipped to Barbados in 1655 they recruited up to strength before invading the Spanish possession of Hispaniola, which ended in two defeats at Santo Domingo and the force sailing instead for Jamaica. Venables’ force successfully invaded Jamaica at Santiago de la Vega (later Spanish Town) against light opposition and the regiment remained in the Jamaica garrison. As with the other Jamaica regiments, the unit was depleted due to disease. Fortescue died of an illness in October 1655 and the regiment fell under the command of Lieutenant Colonel Henry Bartlett, who also soon died, then Major Richard Wells. Being so depleted, the regiment was reduced into others of the Jamaica garrison in 1657.

Coats, Flags and Equipment

Presumably red coats.

Notable Officers

Richard Fortescue

Richard Fortescue (d.1655) was a major in Col. Henry Bulstrode's infantry regiment. He rose to the rank of lieutenant-colonel during the First Civil War and was commissioned to command a regiment of foot on the formation of the New Model Army in 1645. Fortescue's regiment fought with distinction on Fairfax's western campaign during 1645-6, but Fortescue lost his command during the political disputes between the Army and Parliament in 1647. He was imprisoned for involvement in a Presbyterian conspiracy during 1651. However, in 1654 Fortescue was given command of a regiment under General Venables on the Western Design expedition to the West Indies. He was promoted to major-general after Heane was killed during the attack on Hispaniola and took command of land forces in Jamaica after the ailing Venables returned to England. Fortescue was praised for his diligence by Cromwell but died of fever in Jamaica during October 1655.1)

Henry Bartlett

Lieutenant Colonel who commanded the regiment after Fortescue’s death.

Richard Wells

Major in command of the regiment after Bartlett’s death.

Strength

  • March 1655: 1052 men, 120 officers
  • November 1655: 359 men fit for service, 356 sick
  • February 1656: 416 men
  • March 1656: 407 men
  • April 1656: 390 men
  • June 1656: 388 men
  • September 1656: 358 men
  • November 1656: 351 men

See Also

1) Richard Fortescue, Andrew J. Hopper, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, 2004