DESCRIPTION: The Prince's Own sail from Cadiz to Gibraltar Bay and land at Algesir. Their Spanish allies at Tarifa Bay refuse to fight. General Graham leads the Britons and Irish to escape an ambush, defeat the French and capture an eagle standard.
EARLIEST DATE: 1970 (Winstock)
KEYWORDS: army battle Spain patriotic
March , 1811 - "The battle of Barrosa took place in relief of Cadiz ... when General Sir Thomas Graham defeated a French force under Marshall Victor." (source: Moylan)
REFERENCES (2 citations):
Winstock, pp. 126-128, "Barrosa" (1 text)
Moylan 177, "Barrosa Plains" (1 text, 1 tune)
ST Moyl177 (Partial)
cf. "The Battle of Barossa" (subject)
cf. "Oliver's Advice (Barossa)" (subject)
NOTES: The "Prince's Own" is the 87th Prince of Wales Irish Regiment of Foot which captured the first French eagle standard to be taken in battle (source: "French Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars 1789-1815" in The Royal Irish Regiment at The British Army site). - BS
This regiment is now the Royal Irish Fusiliers (Princess Victoria's); it has been combined with the 89th Foot. The 87th, according to the histories I've seen, was the regiment most praised for its work at Barrosa. The unit, in fact, earned *nine* battle honours for the Peninsular Campaign, and eventually adopted a tune called "Barrosa" (possibly this one, though I don't entirely trust that) as its quick march.
Lewis Winstock, The Music of the Redcoats 1642-1902, p. 125, writes, "[To] a French officer it was 'the most terrible bayonet fight I had ever seen' ... the 87th stabbing like demons and howling their war-cry -- 'Faught a ballagh,' ('clear the way') swung the balance of fortune to the British. Thomas Dibdin was one of several ballad writerswho celebrated the victory which cost the French 2,000 casualties out of a force of 7.000, but the song that has survived is the one the Irish themselves wrote. Its precise origin is unknown, but the Royal Irish Fusiliers have a set of handwritten verses which appear to date from early Victorian times."
For further background, see the notes to "The Battle of Barossa" (yes, that's the way it's spelled in that song, even though it's wrong). There are many parallels between that song and this; Roud lumps them, and I've thought about the same. But the differences are also substantial, since they involve different regiments. I very tentatively keep them separate. - RBW
Last updated in version 3.2
Go to the Ballad Search form
Go to the Ballad Index Song List
Go to the Ballad Index Instructions
Go to the Ballad Index Bibliography or Discography
The Ballad Index Copyright 2017 by Robert B. Waltz and David G. Engle.