A Simply Superb 'New Land Pattern' Napoleonic Wars Light Dragoon Pistol For a British Trooper
British EIC Lion stamped lock with British proofs and ordnance marks, dated 1812. A jolly nice and tight flintlock service pistol in excellent condition. With fine walnut stock, steel barrel and brass furniture and mounts, steel lock with EIC & Lion stamp, with 'Crown 2' inspector's stamp, and British ordnance barrel inspection mark Crown over 9. With the 1778 Crowned C.P. & Crowned V. proof stamps of the London Gunmaker's Co. in Whitechapel. This pistol was manufactured in 1812, and its lock was inspected and stamped by Richard Duce, who was the official lock inspector from 1797 to 1818, and his mark was the Crown over 2. One of the 4,500 pairs contracted for the EIC Light Dragoons East India Co. but sold to the British Ordnance for the Light Dragoons and Hussars in the Napoleonic Wars. The East India Co. was an English and latterly a British company with an Army that was led by British officer's with a mixture of British and Indian other ranks. It had a most effective and powerful Navy and it's Army rivalled that of any in the world. It had many famous historical figures amongst it's members including, General Robert Clive aka Clive of India Lord Arthur Wellesley, the Duke of Wellington, and a past EIC Governor was Elihu Yale who was a British merchant and philanthropist, Governor of the East India Company settlement in Bengal, at Calcutta and Chennai and a benefactor of the Collegiate School of Connecticut, which in 1718 was renamed Yale College of Connecticut USA in his honour. The East India Company was, an anomaly without a parallel in the history of the world. It originated from subscriptions, trifling in amount, of a few private individuals. It gradually became a commercial body with gigantic resources, and by the force of unforeseen circumstances assumed the form of a sovereign power.
The company's encounters with foreign competitors eventually required it to assemble its own military and administrative departments, thereby becoming an imperial power in its own right, though the British government began to reign it in by the late eighteenth century. Before Parliament created a government-controlled policy-making body with the Regulating Act of 1773 and the India Act eleven years later, shareholders' meetings made decisions about Britain's de facto colonies in the East. The Company continued to experience resistance from local rulers during its expansion. The great Robert Clive led company forces against Siraj Ud Daulah, the last independent Nawab of Bengal, Bihar, and Midnapore district in Odisha to victory at the Battle of Plassey in 1757, resulting in the conquest of Bengal. This victory estranged the British and the Mughals, since Siraj Ud Daulah was a Mughal feudatory ally.
With the gradual weakening of the Marathas in the aftermath of the three Anglo-Maratha wars, the British also secured the Ganges-Jumna Doab, the Delhi-Agra region, parts of Bundelkhand, Broach, some districts of Gujarat, the fort of Ahmmadnagar, province of Cuttack (which included Mughalbandi/the coastal part of Odisha, Garjat/the princely states of Odisha, Balasore Port, parts of Midnapore district of West Bengal), Bombay (Mumbai) and the surrounding areas, leading to a formal end of the Maratha empire and firm establishment of the British East India Company in India.
Hyder Ali and Tipu Sultan, the rulers of the Kingdom of Mysore, offered much resistance to the British forces. Having sided with the French during the Revolutionary war, the rulers of Mysore continued their struggle against the Company with the four Anglo-Mysore Wars. Mysore finally fell to the Company forces in 1799, with the death of Tipu Sultan.
The British government took away the Company's monopoly in 1813, and after 1834 it worked as the government's agency until the 1857 India Mutiny when the Colonial Office took full control. The East India Company went out of existence in 1873.
During its heyday, the East India Company not only established trade through Asia and the Middle East but also effectively became of the ruler of territories vastly larger than the United Kingdom itself. In addition, it also created, rather than conquered, colonies. Singapore, for example, was an island with very few Malay inhabitants in 1819 when Sir Stamford Raffles purchased it for the Company from their ruler, the Sultan of Johor, and created what eventually became one of the world's greatest trans-shipment ports. In flintlock and made at the Tower of London and used by the front-line British Cavalry regiments during the Peninsular War, War of 1812, and the Hundred Days War, culminating at Waterloo. Introduced in the 1796 and in production by 1802, the New land Cavalry Pistol provided one model of pistol for all of Britain's light cavalry and horse artillery. Another new element was the swivel ramrod which greatly improved the process of loading the pistol on horseback.
The service of British Cavalry regiments, particularly the Light Dragoons, proved essential in the mastery of the Indian Subcontinent. The Duke of Wellington, then Arthur Wellesley, was primarily recognised for his military genius by his battles in India. Of particular note was the Battle of Assaye in 1803 where the 6000 British faced a Mahratta Army of at least 40,000. During the engagement the 19th Light Dragoons saved the 74th Regiment by charging the enemy guns 'like a torrent that had burst its banks'. Pistols firing and sabre slashing, the 19th broke the enemy's position and the day was won. 19th Light Dragoons gained "Assaye" as a battle honour, and the nickname "Terrors of the East". The 19th Light Dragoons eventually served in North America during the War of 1812 and so did this form of pistol. Cavalry was the 'shock' arm, with lance and sabre the principal hand weapons. The division between 'heavy' and light was very marked during Wellington's time: 'heavy' cavalry were huge men on big horses, 'light' cavalry were more agile troopers on smaller mounts who could harass as well as shock.
During the Napoleonic Wars, French cavalry was unexcelled. Later as casualties and the passage of years took their toll, Napoleon found it difficult to maintain the same high standards of cavalry performance. At the same time, the British and their allies steadily improved on their cavalry, mainly by devoting more attention to its organization and training as well as by copying many of the French tactics, organisation and methods. During the Peninsular War, Wellington paid little heed to the employment of cavalry in operations, using it mainly for covering retreats and chasing routed French forces. But by the time of Waterloo it was the English cavalry that smashed the final attack of Napoleon's Old Guard.