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Notes Illustrative of the History and Services of the 85th Regiment of Foot

From: Colburn's United Service Magazine and Naval and Military Journal, 1872, Part 1, January to April
Corporal, later Sergeant, Michael Bowles served on the 85th Foot Regiment under the Earl of Harrington from 1779 to 1782.  During that time the regiment was devastated by disease in Jamaica to the point where they had to be recalled only to have most of the remaining soldiers wiped out by a hurricane off the coast of Newfoundland on their way back to England.  Michael was fortunate to have returned home with his Colonel on a recruiting party the summer before.  The regiment was then disbanded with most of the remnants of the 85th being drafted (transferred) to the 45th Foot and Harrington was given command of the 65th Foot Regiment currently in Ireland.  Oddly though, rather than going to the 45th Foot, Michael alone was transferred to the 65th Foot with Harrington.  When the 65th was ordered to America, Harrington and a small recruiting party which included Michael returned to England.  When Harrington was then given command of the 29th Foot in 1788, Michael was again transferred with Harrington.  He served as a recruiter with the 29th until his discharge in 1792.  See The Rosters of the Various Regiments that Michael Bowles Served In Under The Earl of Harrington
Why a lowly Irish Corporal was retained by his Colonel through three commands remains a mystery.
The story of the 85th's misfortunes is told in more detail in this article.  See also The Earl of Harrington


References to the 85 Foot in the National Archives

These files may yet tell us more about the recruiting process during the formation of the 85th and possibly more about Michael:

See The Bowles of Canada

See  The Bowles of Ireland

See The Bowles of Great Britain

This page was last updated 10/18/18