Orders, Decorations and Medals (25 September 2008)

Date of Auction: 25th September 2008

Sold for £2,000

Estimate: £1,200 - £1,400

Military General Service 1793-1814, 6 clasps, Barrosa, Pyrenees, Nivelle, Nive, Orthes, Toulouse (C. Stewart, Corpl, R. Sappers & Miners) edge bruising and contact marks, otherwise very fine £1200-1400


Charles Stewart was born at Blair Atholl, Perthshire, in 1785. He became a smith and enlisted in the Corps at Leith Fort on 25 February 1809, and was promoted to Second Corporal on 1 May 1810. He served in the Peninsula and was initially based at Cadiz, where he joined an artificer detachment with Sir Thomas Graham's force which landed at Algeciras on 22 February 1811. On 5 March he took part in the battle on the the heights of Barossa, where sapper John Storie was killed, and two other sappers were wounded. At the conclusion of several subsequent operations, Corporal Stewart and his detachment returned to Cadiz, joining the newly formed 7th Company 1st Battalion. He was reduced to Private by Court Martial on 6 May 1812. In January 1813, the company left Cadiz and arrived at Malha da Sorda, from where it was attached to the Pontoon Train for bridging the Esia, en-route to Vittoria, but it took no part in the battle there. Under Sub-Lieutenant Calder, the company was attached to Sir Rowland Hill's Division, and was present in operations in the Pyrenees, including the actions at Maya and Roncesvalles.

Stewart was present with the company at the battle of Nivelle on 10 November 1813, at the battle of Nive, and in the actions in front of Bayonne from 9-13 December 1813. Early in January 1814 the company, under the direction of Sub-Lieutenant Calder, threw a bridge across the River Nive near Cambo, 10 miles south-east of Bayonne, and was present at the battle of Orthes on 27 February. They also assisted in forming the several pontoon and flying bridges required for the passage of the troops, both on the march from Orthes, and just before the battle of Toulouse on 10 April.

On the 22 June 1814 the company sailed from Pauillac, arriving at Portsmouth on 14 July. Later in the year the company disembarked from the
Bedford and Maria transports at Negril Bay in Jamaica, forming part of a body of Peninsula veterans sent to join the British forces in the war with the United States. This earlier force included the 2nd Company 4th Battalion of the R.S. & M. who had seen service in the attacks on Bladensburg, Washington and Baltimore. Stewarts Company took part in the attacks on New Orleans in December 1814 and on Fort Bowyer in February 1815.

Stewart was embarked on board the
Hyperion transport in March 1815, which returned to the UK to Woolwich in the following June and was again promoted to Second Corporal from 1 June. He received War Prize money for the Peninsula. On 1 January 1816, Stewart was promoted to Corporal, and transferred to the 6th Company 1st Battalion which had returned to Woolwich from France in February. Later in the year, the company left for the West Indies, where Corporal Stewart served for six years from 26 December. In consequence of widespread sickness from yellow fever in Barbadoes, the company was relieved early in 1822, and returned to the UK on 6 July. Stewart was promoted to Sergeant on 1 September 1825, and was discharged at Woolwich on 31 October 1828, suffering from chronic rheumatism and an old ankle injury, aged 43. He was pensioned to reside in Leith, near Edinburgh, where he died on 24 October 1854, aged 69. Sold with full research.