John Ansaldo and Col. Foord Bowes
Lieut.-Col. Duckworth. and Col. Inglis.
Major John Patterson was a British officer. At the end of his career he wrote a narrative of his many campaigns in Camp and Quarters, Scenes and Impressions of Military Life - Interspersed With Anecdotes of Various Well-Known Characters who Flourished in the War. It was published in 1840. Overlong both in title and in content it came in two volumes, the first of which carries a chapter on his experiences while serving in Gibraltar in 1808 with the 50th Queen's-Own regiment during the Peninsular Wars.
Gibraltar 1808 - At the time we visited Gibraltar, it was not by some considered an enviable place of residence. Being then at war with Spain, all intercourse with the interior was cut off; the troops were shut up within the small circumference of their batteries. The rock might justly be compared to a gigantic ship of war, the inhabitants of which were in close companionship with great guns, and other destructive engines.
Looking north ( 1808 - John Carr )
It was literally bristled with cannon. Not only were our visits interdicted, but our means of supply were likewise stopped; so that we could procure nothing whatever, in the way of fresh provision, beyond the scanty stores that were conveyed across from the shores of Africa, by the Moors or Algerines. Of rations, such as they were, we had abundance; salt meat was our standing dish, varied with sea biscuits, peas, and rancid butter.
The first remarkable object that presents itself on approaching near the rock, is the ragged staff ( see LINK ) guard house, the ascent to which is by means of a long flight of steps. The subaltern stationed here has no sinecure ; every living thing that passes through the gate on landing, must undergo his sharp inspection.
Turning immediately to the right from this point, a level sandy road, passing a tavern called the 'Tumble down Dick,' and some temporary barracks, continues on by the sea line wall, towards the southern extremity of the fortress; between which and the lofty precipice, there is a narrow space of ground, sloping to Europa point, where there are extensive barracks covered by the works of the New Mole-head.
South Barracks from Rosia ( 1846 - J.M.Carter ) ( see LINK )
Passing, a long range of batteries beyond the town, there is a view of the old Mole, and its adjacent strong defences; from whence, ascending the northern face of the rock, the Neutral-ground, the bay of Algeciras, the small town of St. Roque, with the mountains of Andalusia in the distance, lie within the varied prospect.
Still higher, the rugged winding pathway leads on to the loop-holed galleries, where chambers are cut out of the solid stone; and where, from the loop-holes or embrasures, numerous pieces of heavy ordnance are pointed towards every opening or approach across the narrow isthmus underneath. The grand parade is the great military centre of attraction, where several hundred men mount guard every day, the whole passing in review, in close and open column, before the garrison or officer commanding.
Gibraltar and Bay (1808 - J. Stockdale )
Gibraltar was far from appearing to me that very disagreeable quarter which it was generally said to be; neither do I think it deserved the character it obtained for dullness; for although at this time, as I have remarked, we were shut up within a narrow compass, yet there was much variety within these limits. The duties certainly were severe, particularly on the subalterns, the officer’s guard coming on every third or fourth day; but even on those duties there was useful occupation, which interested and engaged the mind.
When it is added, that a never-failing supply of books was always at hand, ( see LINK ) and abundant leisure to enjoy them, it must be admitted there was no great reason for complaint. Then for gaieties and amusements, there were dancing, (but a woeful lack of fair ones), fishing, shooting, boating, with many other recreations in that way. It is absurd to say, where so many military men congregate together that any quarter can be dull.
The Garrison Library and gardens - 'a never-failing supply of books' ( 1830 - Frederick Leeds Edridge )
( see LINK )
( see LINK )
Let them but get into the remotest corner of the earth, and they will strike up something among themselves that will drive care away. The garrison at that time was composed of the following regiments of the line.
The 6th or Warwickshire Regiment, Col. Foord Bowes - 48th, Northamptonshire ditto. Lieut.-Col. Duckworth - 57th, West Middlesex, ditto. Col. Inglis - 61st, South Gloucester, ditto. Col. Coghlan.
The 6th was afterwards called on to join the army under Wellington, in Spain, where they served during the whole of that war. They were a fine showy-looking regiment, styling themselves, for what reason I could not understand, the 'saucy sixth' Colonel Bowes distinguished himself at Salamanca ; where as he was leading on the troops to assault the forts, he was unfortunately killed, - at that time a Major-General.
Patterson then comments at length to describe the activities of each regiment during the war under Wellington - detailing casualties where appropriate. He then continues as follows:
Among those who were killed at Albuera, was an old brother officer, who served with me, while in the 7th garrison battalion. Lieutenant John Ansaldo, to whom I now allude, was of French or Italian ancestry; low sized, and with the swarthy complexion of a foreigner. He seemed a steady inoffensive young man, at the time I knew him, and particularly anxious to get on service.
From what cause I am at lost to say, charges were preferred against him by Colonel Duckworth, (who was said to be a thorough-going martinet,) and he would have been brought before a general court martial, had not the battle of Albuera intervened. It appears strange, being under an arrest, how he should have been present in that action; but he was engaged, and received a mortal wound. . . .
I have not been able to find out anything further on Patterson's unfortunate friend, but the family name of Ansaldo ( see LINK ) has a long connection with Gibraltar and by the beginning of the 19th century were well established on the Rock as merchants of considerable wealth and importance. Could he have been a Gibraltarian? Unlikely but by no means impossible.