Scots Magazine extract from Moyse Corbet's letter

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On the day of the Battle of Jersey on 6 January 1781 a letter was written by Lieut-Governor Moyse Corbet to his counterpart in Guernsey for onward transmission to England describing events on the day. Excerpts were published in the Scots Magazine later in the year.

Some minor changes have been made to punctuation and use of capital letters and abbreviations to improve readability, but the original spelling has been left unchanged.


St James's, 9 January 1781, this day arrived Lieutenant Waugh, of the invalids, at the Earl of Hillsborough's office, with letters from Lieut-Governor Irving, of Guernsey, inclosing a letter to him from Lieut-Governor Corbet, of the island of Jersey, dated, Jersey, 6 January 1781, of which the following is an extract.

”I am now to acquaint you that the French landed this morning, about two o'clock, between two posts so distant that the guards did not perceive them. They marched across the roads, and were in the market place by six this morning. I was taken prisoner about seven; but I was fortunately released by the very brave and steady behaviour of the troops and militia; and the commandant then informed me that they surrendered prisoners of war. They were all taken, killed, or wounded. Poor Major Pierson, exerting himself at the head of a brave troop of followers, at the close of the affair, was unfortunately killed.
”PS We have about 500 prisoners. Some hundreds are killed, and about 100 wounded. The rest left their arms, and are fled into the country ; but I hope to have them all tomorrow. Our loss may be 50 killed, and perhaps half that number wounded.
”My friend Mulcaster has, as usual, exerted himself. I am not hurt; but two shots through my hat.
”I shall transmit particulars tomorrow morning to England; but send this, if you can."

Governor's orders

The following notice was issued by Major Corbet in Jersey on the day after the Battle of Jersey

Orders, Headquarters, 7 January 1781

The Governor cannot sufficiently express his thanks to the regulars for their distinguished behaviour on Saturday, by which, and the countenance and assistance of the militia, he was released, and the country saved. The death of Major Pierson is a serious loss in every sense. He lost his life exerting himself at the head of a set of brave men.

The garrison of Elisabeth's Castle, under the command of Capt Edwards, are equally comprehended, and most justly intitled to the same; and Capt Mulcaster's repairing to that garrison, so early as he did, was a serious assistance to those troops, that gave proofs of their intentions.

Capt Legeyt of tbe Wiltshire militia, who is now on this island, deserves my best thanks for his readiness and assistance.

The troops, &c. to return to their different posts.

M. CORBET, Lieutenant-Governor.

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