13th Dragoons


Vittoria



Vittoria is more famous for it's tales of plunder and booty than the battle itself. This contemporary print shows the 13th Light Dragoons rifling a chest of uniforms and valuables belonging to Joseph Bonaparte. When the escorted carriages were seen leaving the area, two Troops of the 13th were sent to intercept them, commanded by Captains Joseph Doherty and James Gubbins. When it was clear that there was still fighting going on, Capt Doherty detailed Sergeant Scriven and 12 men to guard the treasures while the rest of the two Troops went off. While they were away fighting French skirmishers, an infantry officer with 50 men approached Scriven and convinced him that the booty had to be taken to the Duke of Wellington. The sergeant was outnumbered and out-ranked so he allowed them to take it away. Thus the 13th were deprived of King Joseph's and Marshal Jourdan's belongings. The 14th light Dragoons were more fortunate and managed to retain their plundered goods. When both regiments were in India in 1840 the 14th presented the 13th with a consolation prize; Joseph's dining table, which has remained in the officer's mess ever since.


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by Stephen Luscombe