Saturday, 7 April 2012

7th April 1812: The military commander at Carlisle reports to his superior officer about the riots


Carlisle 7th April 1812


I conceive it my duty to report to you that in consequence of having received an Order from the principal Magistrates of Carlisle to aid and assist them in suppressing a Mob which had collected at Sandsfield about 6 miles from here, for the purpose of taking away by Force from Vessels lying there a quantity of Grain & Flour, which they were laden with, as also for the protection of a large Granary, which they did break open, destroyed and carried off a quantity of Meal. In consequence of the Orders received from the Magistrates, a Detachment of the 55th Regiment, consisting of 130 men, with a proportion of Officers under my Command, marched from Carlisle to Sandsfield where we remained till after Three o'Clock in the Afternoon, receiving such Directions from time to time from the Magistrates, until the greater part of the Mob which had collected were dispersed.—

At the request of the Mayor of Carlisle a Detachment consisting of an Officer and 30 men were left at Sandsfield for the protection of the Vessels and Granary. I afterwards returned with the remaining part of the Men to this place, & on our entering the Town a very large Mob was collected who struck us with Stones in the most violent manner with repeated insults, which no notice was taken of by us - after having dismissed the men the mob still encreased throwing stones at the Officers which obliged us again to call in the Magistrates for Instructions how to act.—Immediately on the Arrival of the Magistrates the Mob still encreasing with more determined violence, The Riot act was then read which was paid little or no attention to by the populace. After augmenting the main Guard the Officers proceeding in Company with Dr. Heysham one of the Magistrates to the Mess House, and will continually surrounded and struck with Stones and other Rubbish.—Soon after our Arrival at the Mess House in Company with Dr. Heysham the High Windows & shutters were totally destroyed, and the Officers threatened.—On which the Magistrates thought it prudent to send by a back way for a party from the Main Guard, which soon arrived & were directed by Dr. Heysham to fire on the populace, but at first were fired over their heads, which irritated them the more. In consequence of this the Magistrates directed the Streets to be cleared, & to fire on those of the mob who remained, and to take up those persons who appeared active in the Riot, both of which was obliged to be put in execution.—

I am further induced to state to you that from having only 130 Rank & File of the Detachment fit for Service, and that from bring much weakened by a Detachment of 30 men at Sandsfield, I think it proper under those Circumstances to submit to your Consideration the necessity of having some more Troops to our Assistance—Having had information that the populace is again to assemble on Thursday, Friday, or Saturday next in greater Number than heretofore—

There is another Circumstance which I conceive hazardous, the Store of the Local Militia Arms being in a very unprotected state, and which was threatened to be broke open by the mob, and as also the Jail; at both places double Centinels were placed, and the whole Detachment under Arms all night.—

I have &c.
(Signed) Alexr. Hogg
Major 55th Regt.

Major General Murray
&c &c &c

This is a Home Office clerk's copy of an original document. The copy can be found at HO 42/122.

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